Point and Shoot Hits A Documentary Bull's Eye
By Jennifer Martin
4.5 (out of 5) Stars
While chronicling the exploits of Matthew VanDyke, an American who gained notoriety when he joined rebel forces in Libya and was captured and imprisoned, filmmaker Marshall Curry deftly targets the subject of how movies and the media influence personality, aspirations and social behavior in the children who are exposed to them.
Matthew, a shy fellow who was raised by his single mom and continued to live with her long after he'd reached the age when most children establish their independence, was a great fan of war and superhero movies and dreamed of leading an action-packed life.
Breaking away from his sheltered existence, he took off on a motorcycle to explore the world, seeking serial adventures and filming himself as the lead character in them.
In the Middle East, he became good friends with a group of guys who eventually became freedom fighters against Gaddafi, and he returned to Libya to join them. He brought along his camera to capture their and his own battle experiences.
Curry uses VanDyke's footage and close up interviews with Matt, his girlfriend and his mother, and his Libyan friends, plus some animation to cover important but unphotographed incidents in the story to weave a fascinating psychological profile of a guy who reinvented himself in the image of characters he'd seen on screen, and was so deeply influenced by cinema that he made movies of himself doing do.
The most impressive thing about Matt is that he's unimpressive. But thought Curry's lens, he becomes a fascinating Everyman. Curry stands out as a smart and subtly persuasive filmmaker. He's right on target in his handling of VanDyke's story and the film is a bull's eye.