Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Requiem For A Killer: The Making Of Blast Of Silence (2007)

This is an expansion of a 1990 documentary about the making of Blast Of Silence, a late-in-the-game film noir thriller that was filmed on the streets of New York City to great effect.

The original version was made after the film was rediscovered at a German film festival and a TV film crew went and followed director and star Allen Baron around the film's locations while he talked about the film.

This expansion includes that footage, as well as a 2006 interview with Baron. This is a good but not great look at the making of the film, as well as the career of Baron. The problem is that the stories that Baron tells seem to be almost random and often spiral out in odd directions; for example he talks a great deal about a closed restaurant and how it was important to the New York theater community. It's not bad, it's just not on point. When Baron IS on point the stories are great.

The film is also great in that it shows how the city has changed over the thirty years between when the film was originally made, and when Baron revisits the locations. (I should also mention that on the Criterion DVD of Blast Of Silence, where this documentary is included as an extra, there is also a series of stills that brings the changes of the locations up to 2008.)

Baron also muses a great deal about the psychology of his character from the film. I'm not sure that it's all that necessary, since much of it seems pretty clear in the film itself.

Overall I liked this look at the making of Blast, but I didn't love it. It's too unfocused to be wholly satisfying. While I did enjoy the hour I spent watching it, I don't know if I would watch it again, not because it's bad, but I don't think I'd get much out of a second viewing. Worth a look if you've seen Blast Of Silence. If you haven't seen Blast then don't even consider watching this, partly because it's full of spoilers, but mostly what is discussed will mean nothing to you unless you've seen the film it's about.

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