New documentary "By Sidney Lumet" looks at the life and career of one of American cinema's great filmmakers. Time Warner Cable News film critic filed the following review.
Sidney Lumet, who passed away in 2011, was called by many the quintessential New York director. Most of his movies, like "Dog Day Afternoon," "Serpico" and "Network," just to name a few, were shot on location in The Big Apple. And the city itself, as well as its people, usually served as an integral part of the story.
In her new documentary, director Nancy Buirski utilizes a never before seen comprehensive interview that Lumet did three years before his death. It's just Lumet, in his own words, taking you on a journey through his life. Along the way he provides incisive commentary on many of the 44 films he made over a long and illustrious career.
Lumet shares how he started out in show business as a child actor, and how that background served him well when he started directing films. His understanding of that craft quickly earned him a reputation as an actor's director.
Many of his films, like "Twelve Angry Men," "Prince of the City" and "The Verdict," tackled social issues and moral dilemmas. But Lumet says throughout this documentary that he was never interested in ramming an ideological agenda down audiences throats. It was up to the viewer to interpret the movie any way they wanted. But if he did his job well, the moral message would come through.
Filled with an abundance of film clips from Lumet's vast body of work and interesting behind the scenes stories from Lumet, the movie will mainly be of interest to film buffs and fans of the heralded directors movies.
Neil Rosen’s Big Apple Rating: