Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: Milius (2013)

As documentaries about filmmakers go, it is hard to imagine any subject being more prolific or intriguing than writer and director John Milius.  It should come as no surprise then that Milius is such a spectacle.  Even as a fan of this gifted filmmaker and his larger-than-life personality, I was surprised to see just how broad his impact on the film industry has been.  Those who aren't as familiar with John's body of work will likely be flabbergasted to learn that one man played such a pivotal role in so many iconic pictures and performances over the years.  His contributions to movies like Jaws and Dirty Harry are discussed along with movies he scripted (Apocalypse Now and Jeremiah Johnson, among others) and directed (films like Dillinger, The Wind and the Lion, and Conan the Barbarian).  Professional accomplishments aside, the stories about his larger-than-life antics and his brazen disregard for going with the flow are wildly compelling.  This documentary also benefits from more than just a wealth of intriguing material; the number of famed participants who share their thoughts on John's work and persona throughout the picture is positively mind-boggling.  It is entirely possible that it would be easier to list the major actors, directors, and producers who weren't in this documentary than it would be to name everyone who appeared in the picture.  Milius offers far more than reflection on the cinema and funny stories about a brazen individual, touching on politics and delving into some truly emotional territory in the closing reel.  As a fan, I was totally captivated, but I imagine that those who aren't as familiar with the subject--and perhaps even those who don't like John's filmography--will be entertained by this documentary.  It is bold, colorful, and surprisingly nuanced, much like John Milius himself.

Final Grade: A

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