Fast, Cheap & Out of Control may be Errol Morris’ most unusual work yet. Morris himself calls it “the ultimate low-concept movie—a film that utterly resists the possibility of a one-line summary.”
The film interweaves the stories of four obsessive men, each driven to create eccentric worlds of their dreams, all involving animals: Dave Hoover, a lion tamer who idolizes the late Clyde Beatty, and who shares his theories on the mind of wild animals; George Mendonça, a topiary gardener who has devoted a lifetime to painstakingly shaping bears and giraffes out of hedges and trees; Ray Mendez, who is fascinated with hairless mole-rats, tiny buck-toothed mammals who behave like insects; and Rodney Brooks, an M.I.T. scientist who has designed complex, autonomous robots that can crawl like bugs without specific instructions from a human controller. As the film proceeds, thematic connections between the four protagonists begin to emerge. The lion tamer and the topiary gardener look back at ways of life which are slowly disappearing; the mole-rat specialist and the robot scientist eye the future, envisioning creatures that may someday replace the human race.
The film’s style is as adventurous as its subject matter. Working with Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson (Natural Born Killers, Casino), Morris utilizes numerous film formats and resolutions—including black & white, color, 35mm, l6mm, Super 8 and video, as well as stock footage, old movies and cartoons—to create a singularly impressionistic collage of images. Morris’ trademark unblinking interviews were shot with his invention, the Interrotron, which allows his subjects to look directly into the camera lens and, at the same time, have eye contact (through an image projected on a teleprompter) with Morris. The film’s unique vision is echoed by Caleb Sampson’s haunting and powerful score.
Hilarious, sad, absurd, eerie and beautiful, Fast, Cheap & Out of Control is a film like no other. Starting as a darkly funny contemplation of the Sisyphus-like nature of human striving, it ultimately becomes a profoundly moving meditation on the very nature of existence. —errolmorris.com
Since the premiere of his groundbreaking 1978 film, “Gates of Heaven,” Errol Morris has indelibly altered our perception of the non-fiction film, presenting to audiences the mundane, bizarre and history-making with his own distinctive élan.
Roger Ebert has said, “After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven’t found another filmmaker who intrigues me more…Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini.”
Recently, Morris was highly praised for his short film that ran at the front of the 2002 Academy Awards, where he asked an admixture of anonymous and well-known people outside the movie business to talk about what they love about movies.
The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara, which was theatrically released in December, 2003 is his seventh documentary feature film. The film tells the story of Robert S. McNamara, the former Secretary of Defense during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations. Combining… read more
You thought a topiary gardener and a lion tamer, mole rats and robots would have nothing in common? Think again. I'm still at awe at how Errol Morris connected all those stories. What a mind.
An interesting documentary that links 4 people with different occupations together. I may come back soon and rate this as a 5 but for now I'm feeling it's more a 4.5. It's pretty awesome to see how Morris links these 4 people together by overlapping narrations etc. Great stuff!