De Palma


In the seventies, not only was it a period when some truly creative directors came to prominence, but there was a young group of five, who were all friends, who would change cinema forever: Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and Brian De Palma.

This documentary covers virtually every film that De Palma directed, from his efforts at film school right up to present day, his successes and his stinkers.

Directors Noah Baumbach (who ironically is the son of two film critics) and Jake Paltrow (younger brother of Gwyneth) have taken a slightly unusual approach with this biography, by letting their subject recall his career. De Palma is sat in a nice apartment and just talks to camera about the films he has made, who he made them with and his influences. It could have been quite dull, but interspersed throughout are clips from his films and others. And although he's not the most enigmatic of characters, his story is still a fascinating one.

boom reviews De Palma
Once upon a time there was a gangster called Scarface...

What makes this documentary slightly different is that there are no other contributors. It would have been curious to hear what the likes of Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Al Pacino etc had to say about their experiences working with him, but the only talking head is De Palma's. This does set it aside from your average documentary, and De Palma manages to hold court quite well by himself throughout. However, considering the talent he has worked with, it would have been interested to hear their take on their relationship with him.

boom reviews De Palma
Now if someone has put black ink on this viewfinder again, I will go mental.

De Palma may often get overlooked in favour of his peers and close friends, but this documentary acts as a strong reminder that with films like Carrie, Blow Out, Scarface, Carlito's Way and The Untouchables, he has an impressive body of work that is hard to ignore.

If you have a love of cinema, just as much as an art form than a piece of entertainment, then De Palma is a fascinating watch.

we give this three out of five