2019 has been quite a year in the world of documentary filmmaking, from the traumatic testimonies revealed and retold in Leaving Neverland and Surviving R Kelly to the bonkers and brazen behaviour of Billy McFarland and his doomed Fyre Festival in Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened.
Documentary films are often so shrouded in mystery and reliant on word of mouth, they often only make their way into the public consciousness long after their release. We decided to jump the gun and take a look at those films we hope are worth the wait and set to make their mark in the upcoming months.
Framing John Delorean
Genius. Failure. Saviour. Liar. This innovative new documentary drama tells the story of maverick visionary John DeLorean, a man synonymous with the 1980s and cars from the future. Following a traditional documentary narrative with talking heads and archive footage, the film is interspersed with dramatic retellings of specific events featuring Alec Baldwin and a range of other star names. This should be a fascinating watch as the supposedly wealthy entrepreneur’s lifestyle unravels in an FBI sting and a barrel load of cocaine.
Darling of the documentary film world Penny Lane’s latest offering Hail Satan?, charts the rise of the controversial religious movement the Satanic Temple. Don’t be alarmed however, this no fundamentalist group of angry youths, moreover, a collection of savvy, sharp-minded individuals determined to change the status quo. Following the group of outsiders, as they fight corrupt authority and challenge, political and social injustice, this is a heartwarming and thought-provoking journey.
What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali
You may think there’s little left to learn about the incredible life of boxer and most iconic of sporting superstars Muhammad Ali. But, this superb new documentary film, told mainly through Ali’s own voice and previously unseen archive footage, looks at his rise from sportsman to political and social activist. Becoming a figure of hope for oppressed and marginalised groups throughout the world, Ali to this day is the man that keeps on giving.
A new documentary from award-winning German filmmaker Werner Herzog about space, comets, meteors and ancient civilisations is, of course, must see. Taking an intimate look at the role these astrological events had on religion and mythology by visiting ancient sites and exploring their connection the origins of life on earth sounds as random yet thought-provoking as you’d expect from this prolific documentarian.
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
Elizabeth Holmes became the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, before a most spectacular fall from grace. Promising to revolutionise the world of healthcare through her company’s high tech blood testing capabilities, millions were duped as Holmes took deception to new levels. The company Theranos was valued at £9 billion, before only two years later the whole fraudulent escapade was exposed. A mind-boggling documentary, not least because Holmes herself still appears to see herself as some sort of legitimate saviour of the western medical world. Must see madness.
Loopers: The Caddie’s Long Walk
This documentary charts the history of the forgotten men of golf, the humble Caddie. Visually stunning Loopers delves deep behind the scenes of the men who carry the clubs and are the unsung heroes of the game. Featuring contributions from some of the biggest names in the sport from Tom Watson to Nick Faldo, there are also star turns from the likes of Bill Murray, while fascinating perspectives from the men themselves paint a picture of a sport that’s anything but an individual endeavour.
One of the most famous faces and voices on the planet, but how much do we know about the legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti? Directed by Ron Howard, this film will look at the incredible highs and traumatic lows of a complex and at times troubled, lonely man, who rose to the very top of his profession. Expect lots of never before seen stuff, some incredibly famous friends and a genuinely interesting tale of a talented and mysterious character.
And one you might have missed…
This heart in the mouth documentary, part of the BBC’s long-running Storyville extravaganza, appeared almost out of nowhere last week to little fanfare, but boy oh boy did it deserve some. Following the story of a deep sea diver who was trapped at the bottom of the North Sea with only 5 minutes of oxygen in the tank, this mind-boggling documentary is sheer perfection. Told through eyes of those crew members involved in the traumatic event and featuring incredible real footage, this is 90 minutes well spent, just remember to breathe, literally!
Click the banner to share on Facebook