Review – Side by Side

25723222Side by Side

Christopher Kenneally

2012, USA

A documentary chronicling the history, process, influence and practicality of photochemical and digital film. Narrated by Keanu Reeves who interviews some of the most successful and popular directors and cinematographers in the industry, the documentary explores how digital filmmaking is shaping the future of cinema.

Side by Side, or if a less boring title seduces you, try: The Evolution of Keanu Reeves’ Hair. I’m not sure how long the movie took to make but Mr. Reeves certainly never missed a trip to the barbers during the shoot.

This review will be very simple. If you are someone who is interested in the history of filmmaking, how movies are shot and the evolution of cinema from the late nineteenth century to the present day then this is for you. If you couldn’t care less about how movies are made and just like to watch a good ole rom-com or the latest Twilight then it would behove you to steer clear. I found the documentary fascinating. What seemed interesting is that a large majority of the directors, from Danny Boyle and Steven Soderbergh to James Cameron and (even) David Lynch seem fully on board with the way filmmaking is headed for financial, practical and artistic reasons but many of the cinematographers, the guys and gals holding the lenses, are still hanging on to their film magazines with fading hope, albeit conceding that the battle to keep film alive is all but over. Do they know something we don’t or are they just hopeless nostalgists? One of the only directors interviewed fighting for film is Christopher Nolan, who has long championed photochemical filmmaking and IMAX while eschewing the progression of 3D and digital. Will Nolan’s films and their continuous critical and box office successes help film cling on in the fast moving, technological world of modern day filmmaking or is he simply flogging a dead camera?

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