Lake of Fire
Michael Moore may have grabbed all the press where high profile documentaries are concerned, but it's Tony Kaye's Lake of Fire that is being quietly talked about as the most powerful documentary of the year. Which is remarkable considering its subject is one of the most talked about and analyzed issues on the American political stage. Finding a fresh perspective would seem difficult at best.
You may remember Kaye as the British director who famously trashed his career after the release of his debut feature, American History X, trying unsuccessfully to remove his name from the film and placing ads denouncing the final cut of the movie. He retreated back into an exile of music videos, commercials, and the occasional obscure ultra-indie feature. All the while, though, and even before the AHX debacle, he was working on Lake of Fire, a sprawling two-and-a-half hour documentary, self financed and made over the course of 18 years, that attempts to frame the abortion debate in purely non-judgmental terms, giving equal screen time and equal weight to both sides. It's a move bound to anger strict adherents to either position, but may have resulted in the definitive work examining the issue. Shot entirely in black and white and mostly on film (a documentary rarity anymore), the film looks to display Kaye's meticulous visual sense, and, from the sweeping strings in the trailer, his tendency to flirt with melodrama.
It opens tomorrow at the AFI Silver Theatre.