Because the famed Belcourt Theater in
Nashville has reopened it's doors after
extensive renovations I once again have the opportunity to see the occasional
documentary on the big screen. Last weekend I ventured into the shiny new place
to see DE PALMA (2016) because - of course - I'm a huge fan of director Brian
De Palma's movies. I was excited that someone finally decided to talk at length
to the man about his work and this film allows us to be a fly on the wall as
they go through his entire career movie by movie. That makes for some
fascinating stories as we learn De Palma's thoughts about his oeuvre as well as
the motivations for specific choices. I loved getting to hear his tales and at
times wished we could ask questions too so as to dig into certain themes and
influences. I especially wanted more details about the days Steven Spielberg
spent on the set of SCARFACE helping set up gunfights and stuntmen. That
sounded like a blast!
But in the end I was left wanting more from DE PALMA than the film delivers. It is really only an extended interview and doesn't dig much deeper than it takes to illicit a bunch of cool stories about a man's career. I was hoping for a profound and multifaceted look at De Palma and his movies. As it is, this is more a fantastic DVD extra and less a complete film. I enjoyed it but I hope a better documentary comes along one day with a broader view and maybe a few of his collaborators contributing their thoughts as well.