Posts Tagged ‘documentaries’

review: waltz with bashir

Posted 05 Dec 2008 — by Jonathan
Category Islam and the Middle East, Reviews

Waltz With Bashir, Ari Folman’s excellent animated film, is a cool, deliberate and moving evocation of memory, conscience and war which moves from muted tones of yellow and black through luminous multicolour and back again as the director recounts the nightmarish reality of 1982s Israeli-Lebanon War, and his own efforts to reconstruct his recollection of it. Like thousands of men his age, his formative years were defined by his involvement in war, though both his own country and much of the Middle East which surround it – particularly Lebanon – have found themselves the staging ground for much of the world’s conflict since. At 19, be that as it may, he was sent to fight, and to kill. Yet he remembers little. What took place all those years ago?

Part autobiography, part fantasy, and part documentary, Waltz With Bashir is constructed from a series of flashbacks, hallucinations and interviews, all lovingly illustrated. Unable to piece together the details himself, Folman begins a long, painful search for the truth, finding people he served with, drawing out his own suppressed memories and interweaving them with those of his peers. The results are always beautifully drawn, but invariably upsetting; an officer forced to swim out to sea to escape capture by Palestinian forces; a troop trying in desperation to cross a junction while being fired on from all angles; the memory of six men having to gun down a child armed with a rocket launcher.

Worst is the darkest memory of all; Folman’s involvement in the massacres at Sabra and Chatila, where Phalangist Christians led Israeli forces into refugee camps and enacted a devastating genocide on the Palestinians within – murdering young and old, entire families lined up and shot under the yellow sky. As the film’s most devastating line attests, Folman, whose own parents survived Auschwitz, is made unwittingly to play the role of Nazi, firing flares into the sky so that the light persisted enough for the massacre to continue. At the apex of this savage injustice, the film switches not just from monochrome to full colour, but from animation to live video. The final, dreadful moments of the movie consist solely of archive footage of the terrible aftermath – wailing survivors surveying the destruction, the bodies of children poking horrifically from the rubble.

Despite the painful reality of these closing shots, the movie conjures up several arresting images of its own – an early sequence, which describes a memory experiment at a funfair, is echoed, in a moment of playfulness, through a window; a pack of dogs charge vengefully through the streets; a terrified soldier, cowering on a military boat, is provided with a moment’s respite by an erotic hallucination. The most powerful image is that of the auteur’s face, frozen in the streets of Beirut as he witnesses the carnage around him. It’s repeated several times; a slow pan around a youthful face, and gains in intensity with every viewing, until at last you learn something, something, of the atrocity of war. Waltz With Bashir is both chillingly upsetting and notably beautiful – a superb, troubling, and yet strangely cleansing film. Go see it.

gordon ramsey and the fish and anchor

Posted 05 Dec 2007 — by Jonathan
Category Uncategorized

Another week goes by and once again I find myself unable to resist writing about Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares; it is the best programme on TV right now by such a distance and it just gets better and better. And writing about it is incredibly easy as all one really needs to do is cast one’s mind back and quote a few choice swearwords and staple them to a narrative which cruelly pinpoints some of the episode’s moments of pure idiocy.

This week, like me, Gordon is in Cardiff, and he’s having fun with the welsh language, finding ways to mangle native words so that they can be cheerfully pronounced ‘queer’ and ‘cunt-a’. At the Fish and Anchor, meanwhile, Mike and Carol might just be the most colourful characters in the show’s history – which is obviously saying something. Mike may not be English, but he’s the archetypal British Bulldog – a squat, small-eyed skinhead softened by rolls of fat. Gordon fancies himself as a bit of a hardman too, as we know, so he makes a point of utilising his winning way with an introduction. “You’re Mike”, he says. “I didn’t know you’d be so short”.

Mike runs the Fish and Anchor with his wife, Carol, and swiftly explains that he’s not messing around; he’s after a Michelin star and has a method that surely can’t fail – he only cooks from famous chef’s recipes, proudly showing off a three feet high pile of cookery books. Not that he can’t cook himself; he quickly informs the camera that a friend of his ate at Claridges recently and said the food he cooks is better than Gordon’s. Not just that, in his internet guise as Michael Jones, he’s been telling the world the same thing

How best to illustrate the short-fall in his self-mythologising? Well, the food he cooks is shit and his twist on a Madhur Jeffrey curry utilises Uncle Ben’s stir-in sauce. Oh dear. The real entertainment, for once, is not in watching Gordon filling him on his failings, but rather in the way Mike interacts with Carol. Their hosting method is, frankly, amazingly original; not only do they get stressed and angry, they actually scream and yell at each other, completely forgetting there are customers present. When the customers do complain, they react furiously, instructing them to “fuck off and don’t come back”. The customers, completely astonished, are too outraged to fight back. Unbelievable.

Poor old Gordon, for once, similarly can’t keep up – sure, he contributes his usual volleys of “come on big boy” and “fuuuuck me”, but he can’t really complete with Carol’s language, which is peppered with phrases like “I’ve had a titful”, and “I don’t give two shiny shites”. He’s frankly flabbergasted, but, in fairness to her, recognises her televisual potential and makes sure he picks a fight at the first opportunity, amping it up so that her reaction is as extreme as possible. All the same, her response is predictably entertaining. There’s a wonderful moment when she stalks back into the restaurant hissing “fuck off” repeatedly at her husband. Moments later she is trying to justify her sudden rage. “I just don’t like being told to ‘fuck off’”, she says. Wow.

Like all good reality TV, however, the success of the show depends whether the horror can be tempered by some real progress, and in this case Mike, at least, tries his hardest. He’s not the brightest of lads, but he seems to be aware of this. “I’m going to listen to Gordon”, he says, “and absorb it like a sponge, as much of it as I can”. I fear that he won’t be absorbing that much.

Except that he does, revealing that he has Italian heritage and responding well to Gordon’s suggestions. He reinvents himself and the restaurant accordingly. He even stops arguing with Carol. And his enthusiasm is really heartening – “I’m just going to cook what’s in myself”, he says, tapping his torso with a podgy finger. Gordon must have quietly dissuaded him of this, however, as his subsequent cooking doesn’t seem to contain either lager or lard.

My favourite moment of the show was the scene when Gordon exploded in frustration, dressing down his hosts with a typical display of invective. As Charlie Brooker pointed out in the last episode of his recent series of Screenwipe, reality TV shows are always carefully edited to ramp up the tension in every scene, no matter how ludicrous they invariably are. At this moment, however, with Gordon in full flow, the cameraman allows the shot to track to the right, and there we find two teenage waitresses collapsing in silent hysterics.

Ironically it’s one of the waitresses who rescues the show, too. Having tried to teach his charges an awful lot in a short period of time, the first night threatens to completely fall apart until a waitress does exactly that – she slips and falls and is badly hurt. Food goes off the menu and filming stops. The urgency of the show naturally takes a hit and it’s a while before everyone gets back on board – in fact, it’s a month later, and by then it seems that Gordon’s words have sunk in a little. The restaurant is transformed, no longer a battleground and a veritable success. Despite describing Carol as a dragon, it’s clear that Ramsey likes them and seems genuinely pleased that it’s not just the restaurant that’s been fixed up, but also the couple’s relationship. As an hour long documentary, and as a piece of entertainment, it’s another success.

Great stuff. Keep an eye out for the repeats.

parallel lives

Posted 02 Dec 2007 — by Jonathan
Category Music

As I’ve probably indicated before on Assistant Blog, I’m really a massive fan of BBC4; I think that something like 70% of my viewing comes from that channel, and I think it’s worth making the point that the majority of those shoes (Comics Britannia, The Genius of Photography, Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe, some recent stuff on Ian Rankin) are, far from being highbrow intellectual toss, massively enjoyable.

I’ve been meaning all week to write about ‘Parallel Universes, Parallel Lives’, a fantastic documentary that aired last week, but I’ve not had time and – as you might have noticed – I’ve been quite lazy when it comes to blogging recently, which is really annoying me but I’m just not quite getting around to it.

I suppose I might just not mention it, but the thing about BBC4 is that it’s great for repeating stuff, so it’s not too late the programme if you keep you eye out. The show recorded the efforts of Mark Oliver Everett, who is better known to you and I as E of the ace pop group Eels, to belatedly find a way to relate to his deceased father, an eminent scientist who had little to do with his rock musician son.

I found the show immensely moving and beautifully filmed, well worth watching and exactly the kind of programming, simultaneously complex and accessible, that I love. Here’s Ben from Silent Words Speak Loudest, whose description of the show is dead on.

“The journey wasn’t always easy – E’s discomfort and trepidation before listening to a collection of old tapes left lying in boxes was palpable, but it was poignant when he pressed play and heard his father’s voice talking physics with his childhood self bashing away on the drums in the background. Inevitably, what with E being a bit of a prankster, there were laughs along the way (most memorably when the man who once dressed as the Unabomber for an album cover expressed his amazement at getting clearance to get into the heart of the Pentagon), and I was left thinking that there’s a bit of father in the son, if you look at E’s intense observation of the minutiae of life and appreciation of the enormity of the cosmos and our insignificance within it.”

Here’s the link to Ben’s post. Go read.

on oona and i

Posted 18 Oct 2007 — by Jonathan
Category Islam and the Middle East, Politics

Last night I watched, and greatly enjoyed, Nora Meyer’s excellent documentary on Oona King, which aired on the BBC this week. Meyer, a friend of King, delivers an accomplished, very personal film about the former Labour MP’s electoral battle with the fearsome and unscruplous George Galloway. Clearly sympathetic to King’s dreadful treatment at the hands of the Respect man, the film-maker documents the daily barrage of abuse and pressure she is subjected to as a result of her decision to back the toppling of Saddam. King’s position in British politics is unique; a headstrong, outspoken MP, and one of only two black women in parliament at the time, King had been made scapegoat for her local community’s fury at Blair’s disasterous foreign policy. Harangued on a daily basis by a mostly Muslim population, it’s impossible not to feel sorry for a woman being made to pay a huge prize for a well meant, if bad, decision.

Meyer, despite her friendship with Ms King, makes clear – as does almost everyone in the film – her bafflement as to how King could have supported the invasion, but allows the MP the chance to justify herself. It makes for the most moving section of the film, where King expresses her absolute disbelief that it is not a subject the friends had discussed earlier. For King, it was a conversation which she had several times on a daily basis for month upon month. As she attempts to reason through her decision, her exhaustion is palpable. Her argument, too, is weary and unconvincing. She even goes so far as to describe George Bush as ‘mentally retarded’, making it all the more unlikely that she could have supported his actions. In the end her reasoning is half-hearted; if Bush owes Iraq to Blair, then he might feel beholden to him and compelled to sort out the Israel Palestine issue. As we all know, it didn’t work out like that.

Since the documentary, King has recanted, admitting that in retrospect she was wrong to support the war. The tragedy is that she made the admission too late, and Bethnal Green and Bow ended up with a drastically inferior MP, the demagogue Galloway, who Oona King recently dismissed, refreshingly, as a ‘cunt’ in a Guardian interview. Yet Nora Meyer’s film, which never takes the easy route, also shows a King far too happy to play the game in order to work her way up the greasy pole of politics, and for all her good work in her constituency, it remains hard to see beyond Iraq. I could never have voted for Galloway, but I would have had great difficulty voting for King either. Happily the presence of a Labour MP who voted against the war in my constituency meant it wasn’t a problem I had to face.

Either way, I feel for King and wish her all the best. With luck, too, the people of Bethnal Green will be shot of their odious MP before long.

Palin on the new Europe

Posted 20 Aug 2007 — by Jonathan
Category Books, Travel

While there doesn’t seem to be any date for the airing of his new TV series yet, I note that Amazon has a release date for its accompanying book, so it’s looking like the new Michael Palin project will shortly be unveiled by the BBC – and it’s almost certainly going to be one of the major highlights of the year. The series will be titled ‘New Europe’, and will follow Palin around a part of the world which remains unfamiliar to the majority of us; the countries in the old Soviet Bloc, Yugoslavia and other nations like Turkey, which are either new or aspirant members of the European Union. As Palin writes on his website, ‘these are not countries miles away; they’re close to home and there is much more history and culture and politics to understand’. We can presumably expect Palin to be as genial and insightful a guide as usual.

Anyway, if you can’t wait for the series, then the book – illustrated, as usual, with remarkable photographs by Basil Pao – will be published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson on Thursday 13th September. For a better insight into what the book covers, as well as an absolutely priceless host of links to articles and resources on the countries covered, you could do a lot worse than trawl through Michael Palin’s New Europe: An Unofficial Fan Center , which is a blog written and maintained by a Slovenian Palin fan. It’s well worth a read.

Can’t wait for the series.

more daniel johnston

Posted 10 Jan 2007 — by Jonathan
Category Music

Just watched ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’ – what a great film, and what lovely songs.

“Though the whole world be blown apart
No matter how dumb or how smart
Still beats beneath the rocky rumble
The dead lover’s twisted heart”

You can read more about Daniel here.

DBC Pierre and the Aztecs

Posted 04 Dec 2006 — by Jonathan
Category Books

Don’t get me wrong, I love Michael Palin’s travel programmes – they do a superb job of chronicling distant lands in amazing insightful detail. But where, if you sent Michael Palin to Mexico and asked him to research the Aztecs, he would talk of feathered serpents and folk mythology with a very BBC sense of ironic detachment, it’s a great pleasure to watch DBC Pierre deliver the same lines, the same portents of dread, dead straight to camera with reverent seriousness. Palin may return from the Himalayas enthused, but he doesn’t come back possessed. Actually, Pierre looks possessed at the beginning of his journey, never mind the end, if only by Mexican firewater, but it makes his ‘The Last Aztec’, a channel 4 film which I caught repeated on More4 tonight, brilliantly enjoyable.

A lot of TV history seems intent on proving which civilisation was the best or the strongest or most civilised – Egypt or Greece, Roman or Aztec. Certainly any sense of journalistic impartiality is absent in Pierre’s film – he points out that “while we as a culture were chucking shit out of windows into alleys in London, these people had drainage, they had courts, they were living off spring water and vegetables. While we were dying of the plague and scraping around in the grime, these folk were wandering like gods”. He reveres the glorious and magical history of the Aztecs.

Again, unlike Palin or his fellow TV journalist contemporaries, Pierre refuses to conform to type. For a start it’s quickly clear, through a combination of his appearance and his driving, that our host is absolutely trashed. In truth, despite the historical content, the film is really a gonzo road movie in which Pierre’s passion takes centre stage as recalls his childhood in Mexico city, the stories that fuel his imagination, and explores his thesis that the heart of Aztec Mexico is still throbbing hard under the surface of the capital city.

And indeed it is, literally – wherever tears appear in the world’s largest city, he shows us, the ruins of the Aztec empire are exposed, and we watch archaologists uncovering sacred grounds, the bodies of Aztec children and shards of Aztec stone. This most spectacular civilisation, Pierre reminds us, was carved by a stone age society. Indeed, without not only steel, but also without wheels. He finds the place, locked away behind an iron gate, where Cortes, the Spanish usurper, met Moctezuma first – he was welcomed not as an invader but as a God. Once more, Palin might film the spot through the gate. Not DBC Pierre – he just bribes a policeman and gets in that way.

So, allowed in as Gods, the Spanish took the Aztec Empire, and Moctezuma was stoned by his own people for letting them down. Pierre is intent on mourning the collapse of the civilisation which inspires him so. “There’s only one way to get over the decline and collapse of an empire”, he tells us sourly, sitting in a seedy bar. “And that’s to get completely lashed “. He throws back a tequila, shaking his head, looking around. “I can’t say it feels any better”. So he has another.

Incensed, he decides to take the Palace back for the Aztecs. He is approached by a local, outside. “Do I want an official tour?”, he says disdainfully, preparing to storm the place, “what the fuck is that?”. He banters with the guard on the gate, but gets no further. By now, anyway, his misanthropy knows no bounds, so what does he do? He drinks lots more, he reminisces about a dead girlfriend and the centrality of death in the Mexican character, and goes out at night looking for fresh corpses. When he finds some, he takes photos. By now I am thinking this is surely one of the oddest bits of TV I’ve ever come across. Back in the daylight, pissed, he wanders into a church, lights up, and starts rambling about Dracula.

Mexico, he tells us, has dreamt up a unique cocktail of death-fascination, where the pre-Spanish culture of death worship has combined with the Christian concept of mortality. He asks a priest about it, making sure he mentions Christians ripping the hearts from still-living children in the process. Yet Aztec magic still holds sway, and as Pierre decides he wants to climb a mountain to find the resting place of Moctezuma, he realises that he had better have his soul cleansed first. He buys some dried hummingbirds, for starters. It will ward off curses, apparently.

The Sierra Madras mountains are his destination, a magical realm, and he starts his climb, intent on finding spirits, “secrets from the past”, living remnants of the Aztec world, and gold. Most people, as he climbs, are too frightened to talk of the spirits. Pierre has been here before, actually, and he seems scared too – after all, he points out, “the last time I left this valley, many years ago, my life went hurtling into a downward spiral from which I’ve only just recovered”. He keeps climbing anyway.

But, just in case, he sacrifices a couple of chickens first. By the time’s that done, he’s “as clean as a whistle”, he says, “a poet”. And he needs to be cleansed. “There are many things that happen to you, physically and emotionally”, he says, “which leave a smudge”. The bit where the first chicken is beheaded – with kitchen scissors – is horrifying. And after all that, standing in the swirling mist, Pierre is still too scared to climb the mountain. So he gets absolutely slaughtered again, then turns back: the gonzo journo who turns back! Give him another beer and he’ll do it, I was shouting.

For all that, an exhilarating programme.

4Docs: an excellent resource

Posted 14 Oct 2005 — by Jonathan
Category Uncategorized

well, that discovery about archived films on the 4Docs website looks to be accurate; they’ve got a list of films here which you can watch online. There’s nothing on telly ’til Fahrenheit 9/11 at, erm, eleven, so get over there and watch the aforementioned Nick Broomfield film right away. There looks to be plenty more worth watching too, from Kim Longinotto’s film about divorce in Iran to Paul Watson’s study of the modern conservative, way back to films from the 20s, 30s and 40s. There’s even a rather un-bloggy blog, too.

You need to register to watch the films but it’s a moment’s work, and well worth the effort. Hopefully the archive will expand to include more of the brilliant documentary films which C4 has commissioned over the years, and I will no longer be forced to spend ages downloading dodgy bit-torrents of Jon Ronson films because Channel 4 are too stupid to bring them out on DVD.

just watched…

Posted 14 Oct 2005 — by Jonathan
Category Reviews

the incredibly entertaining and engaging The Leader, his Driver and the Driver’s Wife, a documentary by Nick Broomfield which examines the deeply racist yet declining in influence AWB party which, led by the rather frightening Eugene Terreblanche, opposed the end of apartheid most vociferously in South Africa at the tail end of the 1980s and early 90s.

The pioneer of the faux-naive documentary style since adopted by Theroux, Ronson and, well, nearly everybody, Broomfield’s work is both playful and serious, opting not to give Terreblanche the respect and deference afforded to him by the mainstream media, but rather to antagonise him, keep him waiting and treat him as what he is really is – a tin pot would-be dictator leading a bunch of thugs, rather than the leader of a serious political movement.

Instead of feigning sympathy and trying to be helpful in order to get the access he needs, as, say, Jon Ronson does in his excellent film about Omar Bakri Muhammad, Broomfield never once allows his guard to drop. Early on there is a wonderful scene where Terreblanche’s driver (who provides much of the focus of the film) interrogates Broomfield on his racial stance. The camera, panning to Broomfield, as it does so often, shows him resolute and unwavering, unwilling to play along with his subject. Many of the film-makers who use Broomfield’s template would undoubtedly make non-commital noises, change the subject, turn the conversation around. Broomfield stands his ground. Around the same time, one of his cameramen is beaten by AWB thugs. Broomfield and his team keep filming of course.

When, at last, after a convoluted game of cat and mouse, Broomfield meets Terreblanche, he deliberately sabotages the interview by arriving late and infuriating his subject so much that they are unable to hold a civil interview. “What man is more impotant than me?”, Terreblanche rages, “This must be quite a man”. “We stopped or a cup of tea”, Broomfield blithely replies. If you look closely, you can see the Afrikaans’ great leader becoming visibly smaller in front of him.

When he returned, at last, to the UK, Broomfield received death-threats from AWB sympathisers, and was told never to return to South Africa. One guess where he is right now, and what’s he’s doing?

Filming a follow up.

I know there’s a lot of fuss about More4 at the moment, but has anyone kept up with the far less trumpeted 4Docs project? I was under the impression it existed as a commissioning tool for amateur film-makers, but the website appears to have important archived documentary films which are free to view! Can this be right? I haven’t tried it yet, but the 4Docs page for Broomfield’s film has a tantalising ‘PLAY’ button that is crying out for pressing. OK then – more to follow if this turns out to work.

This Sceptred Isle

Posted 27 Sep 2005 — by Jonathan
Category Uncategorized

The new series of Radio 4’s stunningly ambitious This Sceptred Isle, which now turns it’s attention to Empire, began yesterday. With over 90 episodes, it should be a rare and uniquely detailed treat. But how wondeful it would have been if the BBC had taken the opportunity to make it available as podcasts! That would be great. I realise that the tapes and CDs of This Sceptred Isle represent BBC Audiobooks most successful cash-cow and they’re anxious not to upset that, but I’d gladly pay a subscription for podcasted episodes of this, or they could just issue low bitrate versions which would be less likely to impinge upon sales. Ah well – just an idea and sadly one they’ve chosen not to pursue.

You can at least listen back to previous episodes online if, like me, getting to a radio at 3.45pm is sadly impossible – click here to listen to yesterday’s episode.

rubbish documentary

Posted 17 May 2005 — by Jonathan
Category Music

I’m watching the C4 documentary on Pete Doherty by Max Carlish – what a lot of ridiculous, sycophantic bullshit. There was a great bit just now where the voiceover described chaos ensuing because of one of Doherty’s song’s ‘incendiary chorus’. Cue a clip of Doherty and forty Nathan Barleys singing ‘la la la la la’ over and over. Ha ha. I’m off to bed.

controversy… what controversy?

Posted 12 Jul 2004 — by Jonathan
Category Politics

Went to see Fahrenheit 9/11 at last today, and thought it was absolutely magnificent; many many times better than Bowling For Columbine and really moving in places, although also really infuriating. I keep reading, mind, that people object to Moore’s brand of ‘propaganda’ but I don’t mean that is what infuriates; rather the cheerful, bloody and smug ignorance of the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice collective. If at times the fratboy Bush is almost likeable on the Golf course he is never anything but a disgrace elsewhere; his blase attitude just stunning. At one point, pressed on where Bin Laden is he remarks,

“And he’s just, he’s, he’s a, he’s a person who’s now been marginalized, so, I, I don’t know where he is, nor… and I just don’t spend that much time on it, Ellie, to be honest with ya”

Um. Right.

Elsewhere, Moore notes,

“While Bush was busy taking care of his base and professing his love for our troops, he proposed cutting combat soldiers pay by 33% and assistance to their families by 60%. He opposed giving veterans a billion dollars more in health care benefits, and he supported closing veteran hospitals. He tried to double the prescription drug costs for veterans and opposed full benefits for part-time reservists. And when Staff Seargeant Brett Petriken from Flint was killed in Iraq on May 26th, the army sent his last paycheck to his family, but they docked him for the last five days of the month he didn’t work, because he was dead.”

Where this film succeeds is where Bowling for Columbine failed. This time round, Moore has put together a riveting and cogent narrative. Having started with the phoney election, Bush’s Saudi links and the ‘war’ in Afghanistan (he notes that only 11,000 ground troops were sent in, and it was two months before they reached Bin Laden’s base) it seems natural that the film will turn its attention to Iraq. Yet Moore pulls away and begins to talk about the culture of fear in America (something he didn’t quite iron out in his last film), and – in the film’s best sequence – about poverty in the States, about how the army represents the best option for the disenfranchised of, say, (and here Moore finally shambles into view) his beloved Flint, Michigan. The film begins to wander…

But does it? Moore’s structure is genius; when he moves, finally, on to Iraq he has done something documentary makers the world over would kill to do – he provides a marvellous contextual backdrop to the film’s thesis: the young men and women of America who enlist into our armies (he says) are willing to fight and die for their country. They fight so we don’t have to. They die so we don’t have to. The only thing they ask of us is that we only send them into harm’s way when it absolutely necessary.

The people he finds, listens to and interviews are ordinary Americans. Yes, he knows how to tug the heartstrings (his use of Arvo Part’s ‘Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten’ as we see footage of 9/11 is wrenching, with that wonderful, chiming bell resonating through the cinema) but the film is not carried by the weight of his argument, or the bias of it. It is carried by the stories he tells. His surprisingly masterful direction is the icing on the cake.

A really super film, and it made me as angry as hell.