SXSW Review American: The Bill Hicks Story
Director: Matt Harlock & Paul Thomas North American Premiere Emerging Visions
Synopsis Much more than a comedian, Bill Hicks was and still is an inspiration to millions. His timeless comedy tackled the contradictions of America and modern life head on, as he skewered organized religion, railed against the hypocrisies of his government and exposed the collusion of the mainstream media, earning him censorship in the USA, but whose messages continue to resonate with subsequent generations. He also had some excellent dick jokes. Pushing documentary storytelling in a new direction, 'AMERICANÕ uses a stunning new animation technique to bring the tale of one of modern cultureÕs most iconic heroes to the big screen.
Director Bio Matt Harlock is a director whose films have been screened widely at festivals and on television. Paul Thomas has worked in-house at the BBC and created innovative formats for several leading UK production co's. Together as producer/directors, they conducted over 120 hours of new in-depth interviews and have spent the last 3 years making AMERICAN The Bill Hicks Story.
WHO'S IT FOR? This is just a quality documentary. You'll want to appreciate how a comedian can evolve.
Fellow film critic Eric Snider talked me into this one. It’s a good thing he did. I knew very little of Hicks, except for his mother recently appearing on Letterman’s “Late Show.” While I wouldn’t put him at the top of my list for comedians, he’s funny and the documentary is great. It’s an advanced style of Ken Burns moving photographs. Harlock makes this documentary come to life with still pictures. Plus there’s some good old video here of Hicks doing this comedy. Yes, sometimes he gets "comedy" confused with "rants" but then again, he realized a stage was a place to evolve, not just get some laughs.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10