Richard Linklater  dream is destiny

 

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Texan born filmmaker Richard Linklater looks back on his career to date.

 
Richard Linklater  dream is destiny

Richard Linklater with Louis Black

 

Early on in this documentary by Louis Black and Karen Bernstein, we hear a statement of the obvious when it is suggested that the films of Richard Linklater are movies about time. His claim to cinematic fame rests above all on his absorbing Boyhood (2014), filmed over twelve years, and on the trilogy which, starting with 1995’s Before Sunrise, revisits its leading characters at approximately ten yearly intervals. As for the rest of his output, Linklater, who in youth wanted to be a novelist, has become a notable independent writer/director working out of his native Texas and only twice has he turned to mainstream Hollywood instead. Undoubtedly he is an artist who has earned a documentary about his work and as the main contributor here he proves to be a congenial presence.

Admirers will certainly enjoy this look back over Linklater’s career to date, although overall there is a sense of this being a film that fails to make as strong an impression as it might have done. His early life is touched on, but there’s nothing about his marriage and we wait in vain for any comments by his daughter, Lorelei, who participated, not always contentedly, as an actress in Boyhood. Equally, there's no detail supplied when he refers to making Waking Life at a time when he was really hurting and little comment on what drove him in that film and in A Scanner Darkly to embrace animation. We do learn why he agreed to direct School of Rock (he was pursued by the producer Scott Rudin who was adamant that he was the man for the job) but Bad News Bears, a seeming anomaly in his output, is virtually passed over.

Personally I would have liked more about the impressive Me and Orson Welles and, while comments from various actors and colleagues are to the point, one would expect more from Julie Delpy (who appears only briefly) and from Ethan Hawke (whose frequent presence in Linklater’s films invites more detailed questioning). Even shorter are the contributions from Jonathan Demme and Kevin Smith. In contrast the background to his first feature, Slacker (1990), is very fully investigated.

Scenes of Linklater talking to Louis Black come up at intervals almost as though the film were rewinding and rather pointlessly the continuity of this survey of Linklater’s career is interrupted on occasion by on-set scenes from his latest completed film Everybody Wants Some!! (2016). What does emerge very clearly is the fact that Linklater is usually the key creator in his work and yet invites his actors to contribute fully instead of simply asking them to do what he lays down for them. This documentary is a worthwhile film which at 90 minutes does not outstay its welcome, but even so I was always aware that it lacked the in-depth impact of, say, Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach released earlier this year.

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring  Richard Linklater, Louis Black, Ethan Hawke, Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, Sandra Adair, Julie Delpy, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Tricia Linklater, Chuck Linklater, Jonathan Demme, Kevin Smith, Kent Jones, John Pierson, Tommy Pallotta.

 

Dir Louis Black and Karen Berntsein, Pro Louis Black and Karen Berntsein, Ph David Layton, Ed Nevie Owens, Music Graham Reynolds.

 
Black/Bernstein Productions/Arts + Labor/Picturebox-Dogwoof.
90 mins. USA. 2016. Rel: 4 November 2016. Cert. 15.