Documentary

News, Reviews & Features
  • Review: Knock Down The House captures the highs and lows of hope

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 15th May 2019

    How can it be that every week feels like the series finale of America? The dumpster fire of Donald Trump's presidency that has engulfed our lives and timelines since 2016 can't be good for the collective psyche, and it's strange to think that a mere three years ago this constant gnashing background noise wasn't the norm. But US politics has measures in place to course-correct, namely a series of midterm elections whereby successful candidates can win a Senate seat, thus increasing their party's reach within Congress. At least that's what I understand from Wikipedia. I live in England, where we bow to whoever has the tallest top hat or the fanciest swan. Before today everything I knew about the American political system I learnt from The Simpsons.

  • Review: Behind the Curve lets us gawp but doesn't offer any insight

    Movie Review | Luke Whiston | 11th March 2019

    It's so sad to hear about Piers Morgan. Oh, nothing's happened to him. I mean just generally whenever he pops up it makes me feel sad that an adult would cultivate mock outrage in pursuit of attention. We should cut him off so he can disappear forever, but he's harmless really - a fart in the wind - and everyone sees the desperation in his tiny haunted eyes. And he's a coward. To properly grab people's attention nowadays you have to go down the alt-right route like Hopkins and Milo, baring your wretched soul fully in a self-immolating endgame; not have a dig at vegan pastries from the safe space of a colourful sofa. He's a rank amateur. What does this have to do with flat earthers? Well, they're the same thing as Morgan aren't they? Poor deluded fuckers confusing passing glances with validation, convinced they're part of the fabric of reality, when really they're touching cloth.

  • Leaving Neverland and our need for chaos

    TV Feature | Ed Williamson | 8th March 2019

    In the summer of 2002 Michael Jackson came to Exeter, my hometown, where I was living again having just finished university. In a series of events that are ludicrous in hindsight, some businessmen had bought Exeter City FC out of administration and installed Uri Geller as a co-chairman. Geller duly brought Jackson and David Blaine down for a public appearance, in which they drove round the pitch in an open-topped car with a load of children.

    I didn't go. But I do remember watching it on TV, noting that, despite the hit his image had taken from the Jordy Chandler trial, he was still surrounding himself with children wherever he went. And thinking: "No one in this guy's life ever pulls him aside and says, 'Listen, Mick: maybe ease up on the kids in public, eh?'"

  • When Louis Met Nick Pisa: watching two journalists examine their own work

    TV Feature | Ed Williamson | 4th October 2016

    On TV this week: one journalist wrestles with his conscience and tries to understand where he went wrong, while another discusses with undisguised glee how he exploited a young woman's murder for personal gain.

  • Author: The JT LeRoy Story

    Movie Review | Matt Looker | 8th July 2016

    Watching this fascinating documentary about a celebrity/literary scandal that unraveled in the media in 2005, it struck me that this is really something I should already know about. It's astonishing that the high-profile hoax at the centre of this film, which connected - and fooled - so many famous names across film and music, managed to happen at all, but the real miscarriage of justice here is that apparently I have been completely unaware of it until now. Was I more ignorant of the literary world and of pop culture in general than I thought? It seems unlikely. Regardless though, it's probably fair to say that going into this film entirely 'blind' makes for a more incredulous (and therefore more rewarding) experience.

  • Gascoigne

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 9th June 2015

    Most people whose lives merit a feature-length documentary are probably going to participate in only one, and so you suspect this will stand as the only one Paul Gascoigne will ever do. This is a shame, because while it gets behind the clowning and reveals his fractured psyche a little in flashes, it's a busted flush overall.

  • Next Goal Wins

    Movie Review | Ali Gray | 2nd May 2014

    Football is a hard sell. Ever tried to get a non-football fan into it by showing them a game on TV? "Look, I know it's still nil-nil after 70 minutes, but this game is poised to burst into life any second! Look, that Stoke player just got booked for simulation! It's about to kick off now!" But amidst all the play-acting, the bus-parking, the scandals, the hookers, the sky-high wages, the sponsorship deals, the adverts and the hair transplants, there are two things that outsiders rarely appreciate about football: the passion found in the players who truly enjoy the sport, and the breadth of its appeal. Show that same non-fan new documentary Next Goal Wins, and I guarantee that by the final whistle they'll have a new-found appreciation for the beautiful game.

  • Louis Theroux's LA Stories: Edge of Life

    TV Review | Ed Williamson | 30th March 2014

    Having shed the freak-show tenor of his early work, Louis Theroux has become a documentarian you trust implicitly - even when the film ends on an implausible high note.

  • The Armstrong Lie

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 28th January 2014

    If documentary film was once considered the presentation of truth, the best examples of its contemporary boom seem now more concerned with examining the nature of truth itself. As if the genre had begun to no longer trust its own motives, we now see deliberate use of unreliable narrators, and are invited to consider the anatomy of a lie. Lance Armstrong is as unreliable a subject as you're likely to find, and by the end of Alex Gibney's latest film, you're still not sure whether he's telling the whole truth.

  • We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks

    Movie Review | Ed Williamson | 10th July 2013

    Right, let's stop mucking about with the gifs and the cock jokes. This is a serious documentary about war and lies and cover-ups and stuff. But have no fear: both I and this website are more than capable of sober critical discourse, and will address the subject with no small amount of intellectual rigour. Also, that Julian Assange has funny-looking hair, right guys?