An intriguing as all hell story is given a much too straight forward telling to the point what should be a completely emotional story just sort of lays there. Consisting of archival interviews with Ellis, talking head chats with friends and family, and lots of period footage the film is, except for its subject matter exactly like pretty much every other standard TV documentary bio you'll see today, all you need do is cut this down to 50 minutes and you could play it on one of the various cable TV networks.
Actually if you cut the film down to say an hour you'd have a dynamite film in the style it's told now. As it stands the 90 minute running time is too much for such a conventional tale that interest kind of wanes. Even the late in the game suggestion that Ellis could be Elvis' half brother generates almost no heat, partly because they don't do anything with it and partly because it's just added in matter of factly.
As with most of the films at this years Tribeca I don't dislike the film I just wish it was better... or in this case more exciting. I, like Hubert and some other people at the screening, went in hoping for an exciting off beat film. If there was ever a subject that would have improved with a tad of flash it would be Orion, sadly that doesn't happen.
Is the film worth seeing? Oh most definitely Jimmy Ellis/Orion deserves to be remembered, but at the same time I'm not sure you need to pay festival prices , or even regular movie prices to see it. Wait for this to hit TV-which it will- and then watch it as it plays in eternal rotation.