Movies Are My Wife

Married to the Movies — Mdino's Blog

DIARY OF A BAD LAD@indieflix

The documentary filmmaker at the center of DIARY OF A BAD LAD (Great Britain, 2007) is blessed with the unbelievably cheeky moniker “Barry Lick”.  The name is appropriate as he is an unsavory lad indeed, and If you thought the bad lad of the title is the gangster subject of Lick’s latest  film you will be pleasantly surprised.  I say “pleasantly” because DIARY OF A BAD LAD is full of nice touches that make it an even better movie than you may expect.  If the film has a precedent,  it is MAN BITES DOG (1992).  Both are about the “legitimate” media and their exploitation of and complicity in the criminal activities they are supposed to depict without bias.  But “LAD” is good enough to stand on its own, mainly because of the screenplay by Jonathan Williams, who also plays Barry Lick.  It contains several twists and turns, many of them providing revelations about Lick.  We first realize he is a real piece of work when he orders the crew to keep the cameras rolling as they try to hide the dead body of a drug overdose victim.   “It’s the truth” he rationalizes emphatically. 

There is the clever inference that media are essentially prostitution and pornography, revealed in a scene where gangster Tommy Morghen (Joe O’Byrne) brags that he uses hidden cameras to record sex acts at a massage parlor, much as Lick often shoots his documentary scenes covertly.  The director even requests the use of the footage for his film just in case he isn’t able to shoot his own.  Though Williams and director Michael Booth are definitely trying to slam home a point, a couple of scenes of blurred pornography go on much too long and simply bring the film to a dead stop. 

Ah, but I quibble.  Booth’s direction captures a cinema vérité feeling effectively in the faux documentary, and it is often difficult to believe that the actor’s dialogue and interview scenes were scripted by Williams, so natural is the feeling created.   Whether this is due to Williams’ gifts as a writer or to any improvising that may have been done, remains to be discovered.  Something the reader should discover as quickly as possible is the great variety of independent films in the indieflix stable-covering a breathtaking range of styles, genres and subjects.  DIARY OF A BAD LAD is a good place to begin your tour of this eclectic site.

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November 13, 2009 - Posted by | independent film, indieflix | , , , , ,

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