Of Fathers and Sons (2018)
I first want to say that the actual filmmaking behind this movie and just how this movie came to be is amazing and I have nothing but respect for the people behind it. Disguising themselves for almost 2 years to gain this footage is just incredible and I am happy their work is being viewed by so many. That being said this is a review of the film as a film, and as a film I have issues.
But starting with the positives the footage gained in this documentary is truly amazing, in the same vein as Icarus from last year there are scenes in this movie that you can't believe you are actually watching. It is shocking and disgusting, and this helps to make this movie stand out and hold your attention. There is also some really nice filmmaking here, even though the limits to what the filmmakers could do in this situation the cinematography is high quality and this film looks very nice. Unfortunately, I think this film could have used more work in the editing studio, they do very little to edit together this film so instead, it felt more like a collection of clips rather than a really solid and well put together documentary. I found that this movie had issues creating a thesis or finding direction, which is partly understandable due to the circumstances, but that is why you have editing and post-production. You can add direction and ideas to make more clips feel relevant and meaningful.
There were times where I couldn't figure out what this film was going for, was it trying to humanize these evil people? Were they trying to show just how evil they were? It feels messy in its meaning.This movie also lacked context, it throws you into this world and does little to help you understand what is going on.
There were multiple times in this documentary that I would lose track of what was happening, especially considering there are multiple time jumps. This is another issue that could have easily been solved in the editing, I'm not saying you need to walk us through every small scene but I shouldn't have to keep asking myself what was going on. Still, though this film is beyond impressive when you look at went into it and it is far from terrible. There still are some shocking scenes and it is always interesting putting faces to someone who is considered so evil, I just wish this film would have used its editing to create a stronger thesis and message which would have raised the entire movie to the next level.