A worthy specimen in the hybrid documentary genre. I must admit though that there were times where I got frustrated and distracted by the device and simply wanted a more raw and less contrived approach to Kate's search into the soul of Christine. Despite that, its still an engaging look at depression, media, and questioning the degrees of accessible truth through reconstruction. Besides: "Its all bullshit anyway."
Even now awarded at Indie Lisboa and with a previous success via Sundance, the usual smart doc-not-doc movie for épater le bourgeois. Using the most basic meta-fiction, or according to Variety, "docmaker fixated on the malleable line between reality and performance", works the concepts in such primary and expository way and form that reveals itself unproductive and ridiculous. A relative of "Interior. Leather Bar."
The thin line between reality and fiction gets blurred as Kate falls deeper into Christine's backstory. The methodical work for an actor to get in character is (almost) always interesting and a good premise for a documentary, but unfortunatley in this case I found myself attempting to suicide before Kate Lyn Sheil.
Rather meta but it's quite the thinkpiece on the tragic on-air suicide of Christine Chubbuck in 1974, which did not directly influence 'Network' but coincidental parallels remain. Other than society's morbid 'snuff' real-life violence curiosity, the most haunting element of her story is 'the uncanny' - a blur between reality and fiction, an act which obliterated boundaries between TV and audience...
Kate can't play Christine, but her meanderings and musings seem natural. She's just not believable as someone who can capture a complex and intense individual.This somehow came out more exploitative than the Campos film. They already have a compelling subject, yet it still managed to fall short. That wig and faux tan was quite costumey and distracting too. That ending felt so forced.
Uses the building process of a performance as means to explore the limits of documentary cinema, as well as the amorality inherent in exploiting a real tragedy in name of artistic merit. Can a film really capture the complexities of a human being? Can an actor? Its most daring mechanism is, curiously, the admittance of defeat when faced with the tapestry of challenges and questions it confronts itself with.
The risk of a film clarifying itself at the end is we spend a lot of time in the cold. This is an intentionally uncomfortable experience, asking viewers to reconcile notions of performance and exploitation via the conflicting intent of director and star. That it ultimately rejects our desire for unseen artifice didn't quite justify its occupation with Christine's suicide to me, but hey I'm the fuck who went to see it