To reduce De Palma‘s merits by designating it an “overlong special feature on a blu-ray” (as some audience members did), would be missing its sagacity entirely.
The documentary, chronicled by notable filmmakers themselves-Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow-is a fascinating oral autobiography of (and disclosed by) the controversial American writer/producer/director Brian De Palma. In the comfort of Paltrow’s living room, De Palma candidly recounts his life and film-making history with equal parts self-awareness and frank candor, unabashedly revealing the vulnerable man behind the storied career.
The engaging, in-depth stories he tells are for cinema aficionados, film students and lovers of behind the scenes gossip alike. For example, when he confesses that there was much mediation involved in the production of Mission Impossible, what is most compelling is how selective he becomes with the words used to describe working with Tom Cruise. His detailing of his serendipitous working relationship with Robert De Niro and his bonding friendship with filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese will be delightful to even a passing film fan.
De Palma is a passionate study on film and character that is not to be missed.