Monday, February 21, 2011

#65: This Film is Not Rated

This Film Is Not Rated is 2006 documentary based on the ratings system that the MPAA accords to any movie released in the US. Kirby Dick who is an accomplished documentary filmmaker in his own right made this movie after his more popular Twist of Faith that got nominated for the Academy Awards in 2005.

It is a narration of how the MPAA functions like an autocratic body without any accountability. At one point, it mentions that the sense of secrecy is so high that apart from CIA there's no other organization that could match it's veiled authority. The movie begins with a nice set of opening credits with some of the controversial scenes in movies playing as the credits roll out. The point it tries to make is established very clearly in the first ten minutes of the movie and as a viewer I bought into it completely. What t does from there on is a bit 'filmy' as we call it here in India- Kirby Dick hires an investigative agency to find out who the people behind the agency really are. So we end up sitting through the movie until we get to know that. And that's that. The same point is repeated to be drilled into our heads until kingdom come.

Where the documentary also fails is the fact that in spite of such a universal topic that affects practically every filmmaker in the US however big or small, the movie doesn't take opinions of any stalwarts. Through the movie, it doesn't speak to more than 3 filmmakers, does it's own snooping around and indicts the system. While it's absolutely right in it's verdict, the journey is less than fulfilling. Kirby Dick also isn't the smartest guy around. In a shot where he has to react spontaneously to a lawyer, he fumbles miserably.

This Film Is Not Rated is a weak attempt at unearthing the ills of a system that was established first in 1968. It takes off beautifully, stutters midway and makes a landing that's far from smooth. It tackles a highly relevant topic for filmmakers and serves it so half-heartedly that you will miss Michael Moore. And that's not always a good thing.

Rating: 5/10

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