Big Time does a good job acknowledging the genius of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, even if the documentary lacks modesty. However, I felt distance between myself and Ingels, and director Kaspar Astrup Schröder wasn’t doing anything to mend this gap.
Bjarke Ingels has earned notable acclaim from publications such as The Wall Street Journal and Time Magazine, and I could never doubt his ingenuity. There are one-on-one segments with Ingels where he’s sketching concepts while simultaneously explaining to the filmmaker (and the audience) the precise planning that went into these projects. His mechanical brain is put to the test when he’s given the task to spearhead two tentpole projects (New York City’s VIA 57 West and 2 World Trade Centre). Complications happen, and Ingels is quite vocal about setbacks and his exhaustion when he isn’t balancing his personal life.
Big Time exists in the present, which left me longing for more of the architect’s past. The audience learns tidbits of Bjarke’s fascination with architecture, but it’s limited. Additionally, there’s a hint of narcissism in the air throughout the doc as Ingels boasts to the camera. This could’ve been taken advantage of for the sake of not being a one-sided film, but filmmaker Kaspar Astrup Schröder doesn’t care to attach any sort of criticism to his subject. He would just rather let Ingels butter up the audience, which isn’t challenging for Schröder or the audience.
Big Time is fine, but it’s also timid and full of itself.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie