Full Tilt Boogie

          Maybe it's me but there seems to be a welcome growth in the
  venues and interests in non-fiction filmmaking (also known as
  documentaries). Maybe it's the growth of cable television, maybe it's
  just a fluke, but there are two unique and quite different but equally
  enjoyable works in theaters.

          Sarah Kelly began working in film as a production assistant on
GETTYSBURG and soon began harboring a desire to direct. She worked
  her way up from making coffee and coordinating extras on such films as
KILLING ZOE to assisting Quentin Tarantino on PULP FICTION. While
  working on her own script, she was approached by Tarantino to make a
  behind-the-scenes film about the making of the horror thriller
FROM DUSK TILL DAWN. Directed by then-ascendant indie filmmaker
  Robert Rodriguez (who ran afoul of the unions on his films
 and its bigger-budget sequel DESPARADO), FROM DUSK TILL DAWN
boasted a Tarantino script and the auteur as co-star with George Clooney.
  Far from being one of the usual "Making of ..." pieces of fluff that are
  used to advertise upcoming movies and generally consists of talking
  heads (the bigger the star, the better) with occasional scenes from
  the feature,
FULL TILT BOOGIE is a real look at the behinds the scenes
  personnel, often the unsung workers on a shoot.

          So instead of just interviews with Tarantino and Clooney and
  co-stars Fred Williamson (interviewed in full monster make-up), Michael
  Parks and Juliette Lewis [Note: Harvey Keitel agreed to speak with
  Tarantino on camera and comes off a bit pompous and out of place with
  the levity of the rest of the documentary while interestingly Salma Hayek
  is not even mentioned. Perhaps there's another film in that mystery.],
  the audience is treated to comments by assistant directors, gaffers,
  caterers and personal assistants (who come off as slaves to the egos of
  their masters).

          Kelly begins her movie amusingly enough with a parody of
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER by having Tarantino and Clooney strut to the
  set accompanied by the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" which is cut with a
  scene from the film. Not having seen
  hurt my enjoyment of this primer on movie-making. There's fun information
  about what each job entails. The audience sees a set built in the middle
  of the desert that nearly gets ruined by misfiring pyrotechnic special
  effects followed by a sandstorm. What bogs the film down somewhat in
  the middle is the depiction of union problems. Because Rodriguez and
  producer Lawrence Bender used a non-union crew, the unions (especially
  IATSE) were up in arms. This section is a bit confusing to those not up
  on those aspects of filmmaking and Kelly and her crew's jaunt to Florida
  to meet with the union officials seemed ill-advised. All in all, though,
  this is worth a look. Those who have seen Rodriguez's movie no doubt
  will have more appreciation for the finished product. For those who
  haven't seen it, this is still a fun (but flawed) look at the real behind
  the scenes stuff.

Rating:                B-
© 2005 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.