By: Addison Wylie
We’re only a few minutes into Citizen Marc, and the audience is already aware of how polarizing pot activist Marc Emery can be.
Emery’s button-pushing tactics to challenge the Canadian government can be seen as either courageous or just plain obnoxious. His outspokenness may be a little of column A and B, but documentarian Roger Evan Larry uses this film to portray Emery as real as possible. That image being a passionate, confident speaker who could effortlessly strategize through life.
Through much archival footage and Larry’s own interviews with Marc, movie goers see the ‘Prince of Pot’ as someone who can never stop being entertaining. He’s always “on”, and he’s a guy who can tell you his whole life story at the drop of a hat.
That shock charisma that put him on the map – aside from his infamy and success from selling pot seeds – is translucent, however. Underneath the persona are arguments and opinions that Emery has devoted his career to. Emery – inspired by the works of Ayn Rand and obtaining the same aggressiveness as Howard Stern – shoots his mouth off, isn’t afraid to indulge in his own narcissism, and finds a way to get his point across. He built a flock of followers during his time in Vancouver using these strategies, and his clientele only get more vast over time.
Other knowledgable, quick witted interviewees can’t help but be impressed with how much Emery has gotten away with, and how much truth were in his tirades and public speakings. Citizen Marc doesn’t shy away from other not-so-flattering confessions about Marc’s ways, but the assumption is that Roger Evan Larry finds Emery to be a fascinatingly far out and brilliant subject.
Larry’s documentary switches between being an elaborated school project, and a professional news story you’d catch on late-night outlets. It has the facts and the cohesive narration to remain efficient in the presentation, but the film is rough around the edges when Larry’s trying to score stylistic points. There are lots of moments where Larry is performing the same trick over and over again. Count how many times we see filler of Emery posing in that damn empty airplane hanger. Or, how many times we hear Richard Wagner’s Valkyries (Der Ring Act III: Ride of the Valkyries) composition. I dare you.
Roger Evan Larry’s commitment to Marc’s story is what gives his flick a brain. The way this documentary has been assembled in a sort of “against the grain” manner also matches it’s unorthodox subject. All those blemishes eventually find a home in the film. Before you know it, Citizen Marc will have you flying high with amusement.