Fast, Cheap and Out of Control (1997)

Directed by Errol Morris
Written by N/A
Starring Dave Hoover, George Mendonša, Ray Mendez, Rodney Brooks

My Advice: Don't Miss It.

The only trouble with this documentary is not in telling people what it's about, but rather trying to figure out if there's anything that it's not about.  The film is essentially four interviews with four different specialist in their respective fields, Hoover (lion tamer), Mendonša (topiary artist), Mendez (naked mole rats), and Brooks (robotics).  Just on the surface it sounds pleasant and like something for the Nature Channel or something.  But Morris doesn't leave it at that.  The interviews are interwoven with each other, shots of the four doing their respective jobs, old film clips, stock footage of anything and everything, and more.  What comes out the other side is a surprisingly moving and obviously fascinating mix, that as I said, touches on everything--obsession, eccentrism, immortality, fatality, humanity's fate--the list goes on.  As Mendez speaks of how naked mole rats operate almost as insects, shots of the circus where people are pretty much operating as Mendez is describing are cut with shots of Brooks' robot clambering over a mock alien landscape.  This is only one example of how the segments are brought together to form a narrative that reaches a conclusion that is both chilling and invigorating.  It's the kind of film That Bastard Joyce would have enjoyed, since he was trying to find the cosmic and cataclysmic in a normal person's workaday life.  Morris certainly does it here.  A damn good film, go out and rent it today.

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