I don’t take umbrage with why Werner Herzog and André Singer made a documentary about former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev. Considering how elated both filmmakers are when they’re on screen with Gorbachev, the audience can see how much interest they have in this passion project. However, I feel that their starstruck smokescreen stunted this project from resembling a movie worth watching.
I have a problem with how this film was made, and how the documentarians have essentially made a feature-length news story that plays as a VICE imitation. I don’t blame movie lovers for falling for this trick. Herzog has made unforgettable documentaries (Grizzly Man, Encounters at the End of the World) and his frequent colaborator Singer (an Emmy-nominated producer) is experienced within the genre too. But, their storytelling talent is kept on a short leach as they willingly resort to basic filmmaking techniques. Their film even hinges on a gimmick (three one-on-one interviews between Herzog and Gorbachev spliced together to create an ongoing conversation).
Meeting Gorbachev is informative, sure. The audience, after all, is hearing about Gorbachev’s history from the man himself. But, this documentary is nothing more than a lark from people who should know better.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie