Point and Shoot, reviewed: Oscar-nominated documentarian Marshall Curry takes storytelling to the next level
By Chris Knight
3.5 (out of 4) Stars
The latest documentary from Marshall Curry (Oscar nominated for Street Fight and If a Tree Falls: The Story of the Earth Liberation Front) is a simple tale that’s anything but.
In 2007, a mild-mannered young man from Baltimore decided to take a “crash course in manhood.” Changing his name from Matthew VanDyke to the more manly Max Hunter, he embarked on a motorcycle tour of the Arab world. His first stops were moderately adventurous – Gibraltar, Tunisia, Egypt – but in the words of Matt/Max: “Adventure’s a little bit like a drug … you build a tolerance to it, and you have to take it to the next level.” Soon he was exploring Iraq and Afghanistan. Then, when the Arab Spring bloomed in Libya in 2010, Matt joined some good friends he’d made in the rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi.
Curry relies mostly on Matt’s own footage, which he shot almost compulsively over his time abroad. This is supplemented with interviews in which Matt proves quite self-aware of his reinvention. “I suppose I was crafting myself, using the camera to write my own life story,” he says at one point. And later: “Am I a filmmaker or am I a fighter?” Curry wisely leaves it to us to answer that one.