Cheryl Strayed, Noah Baumbach and Sean Penn: 8 great movies about leaving home to find yourself
By Gary M. Kramer
Director Marshall Curry’s phenomenal documentary that chronicles Matthew VanDyke’s “crash course in manhood.” A middle-class guy from Baltimore, VanDyke decided to take a motorcycle trip through the Middle East and North Africa. He ended up fighting in the Libyan war alongside friends he made during his travels. VanDyke struggles with OCD—he has a strong aversion to sugar—and has to recalibrate his life as he encounters dirty hotel rooms or spends a stint in a prison cell. In “Point and Shoot” Curry shrewdly melds his interview with VanDyke with his subject’s own footage to show how he became empowered. It is an exciting, worthwhile journey full of harrowing escapes and escapades. While VanDyke has an epiphany at the film’s climax when he is faced with a life-or-death situation, other moments also resonate. He makes a difficult decision when he chooses to stay and fight alongside his friends in Libya rather than return home to the comfort and safety of the life he left behind. Such episodes indicate how VanDyke’s experiences changed him, and Curry’s exceptional film challenges the viewer to determine how they would respond in the same extreme situations.