Directed by: Spike LeeCast: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs Running Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes Rating: TV-14 Due Out: November 24, 2009
PLOT: A multiple-angle documentary about the NBA's premier player, Kobe Bryant. Spike Lee tackles the task of capturing one of the world's most recognizable basketball icons as he assaults the rival San Antonio Spurs.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Fans of Pro basketball. It's easy to see that Lee himself is a fan (and a diehard Knicks fan at that) in the way he captures the game from an impressive array of angles. You really have to LOVE the game to fully appreciate this film. If you're a casual fan, or female and in love with Bryant's "face-of-the-game" smile, it's advisable you sit this one out.
This is an intensely detailed documentary that reveals all that occurs during a normal NBA game. There is so much more going on than meets the fans' eye, and I can't think of anyone better than Kobe Bryant to explain the process while you watch. His commentary tends to drift between indifference, and intrigue, but the soundtrack makes his every word sound well-thought out and prepared. Think Sigur Ros scoring an NBA game rather than the bombastically torturous house music arenas insist on pummeling us with during games.
There's a refreshing break from the discourse in appropriate doses when Lee decides to mesh black-and-white still shots with the rolling camera. These are the film's strongest moments in that they showcase the man, and his game by enhancing the experience in subtle doses of cinematic beauty.
Throughout Doin' Work we see what makes Kobe the game's top ambassador. He understands every aspect of the game, and is passionate about his art. However, it's difficult to declare whether or not his entire fan-base would get on board for the entire film. Spike Lee attempts to engage the audience by revealing EVERY PASSING MINUTE of a single NBA game. That's 48 minutes of explanation. A bit much? Yes. Does it Work in a series of short viewings? Certainly.
MOVIE SCORE: 7/10
Music Video - "Levitate" By Bruce Hornsby
A skip-able montage of Kobe-related highlights from the game you just watched in its entirety. Why Spike Lee chose to have Bruce Hornsby (a VERY Caucasian 1980s recording artist of relative notoriety), and not someone a bit more "hip" to be featured in a Kobe-centric video is beyond me.
Spike Lee on Kobe Bryant's Commentary
The director explains the difficulties in getting Bryant to sit down long enough to dissect an entire game. This part is interesting because Kobe had just dropped 61 points on Lee's beloved Knicks, and he explains how even his fellow Knick fans had chanted "MVP, MVP" in the Madison Square Garden. Very funny.
Audio Options: Game Only Experience
Sort of worth a look. Kobe talks so much during his commentary that you lose sight of the flow of the game. It was sort of neat to watch a game from so many angles, free of commentary from the star himself, or a tedious telecast from the Lakers' broadcast team (who are atrociously mundane if you ask me).
EXTRAS SCORE: 6/10
OK, this film was worth watching because I am a basketball fan. That's really the only reason you should buy this DVD/Blu-Ray. It's a bizarrely detailed account of how the game is carried out by professionals, as told by the most impressive single player since His Airness. I do warn casual fans that Spike Lee insists on making the game more tedious to watch than a chess match. Stay away from this film if this scares you.
FINAL SCORE: 6/10