In this unprecedented look at Ai Weiwei, Klayman’s camera captures his forthrightness and unequivocal stance. She gives a larger picture of the artist as an individual, a symbol of China’s oppression, and a powerful voice against a country that still denies its citizens many basic freedoms.
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The weaknesses in the filmmaking are swept up and kept afloat by the force of nature that is Ai Weiwei. But you really can't do the subject justice if the director doesn't have equal fortitude. A true rebel would have pressed harder about the selfish contradiction represented by Ai's illegitimate child without fear of pissing him off.
Inspiring doco on Chinese political artist Ai Weiwei, the famed designer and later reject-or of China's Birdsnest stadium. After just spending time in China reflecting on this makes a lot more sense and whilst the doco is a little flawed it provides a much welcomed insight into the man and his motivations. 4 stars
There are a few glimpses of his personal life that make it worth watching, but there isn't much here that people who have followed Ai in the media haven't seen already. If you're not familiar with his work, it's a good place to start.
Now I wouldn't call Ai Weiwei a charlatan, but watching this movie with someone who would prompted me to view the man, his work, and this film more cynically than I would have otherwise. Does Ai promote himself more than his art? Shouldn't the film tell us whether there have been any reconstruction efforts in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake and Weiwei's subsequent criticism of the collapsed "tofu-dregs" schools?
The movie turns Weiwei's very poignant struggle into a hollow depiction that looks much more interested in making a western propaganda. It works only with weiwei's rebel-artist-political-activist persona, the one we already know, the one from the TV interviews... it makes me wonder if there ever was an interest on going passed this superficial level of depiction, which can be so useful.
Never Sorry is a great primer or 101, but by-the-books doesn't befit Weiwei's brand, if you will. Klayman fails to prod the provocateur, allowing the political to trump the personal. In fact, in regards to his actions at one point in the film, he states "it's nothing personal." But given that his work is particularly political, it can't not be personal. We do not see him in this film. We see what he is, not who. 3.5