Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: No Maps For These Territories

Filed under: Art,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Movies,Red Herrings,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:42 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I watched No Maps For These Territories this weekend.
I’m not a huge fan of documentaries, even though I like shows in the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel.  But, I’ve been really getting into my Netflix subscription lately and, as a result, I’ve been renting DVDs that I might not otherwise get.  So, since William Gibson is one of my favorite authors, I thought a good “stretch” for me to take was getting a documentary on, and starring, William Gibson.  In general, it was okay.  It’s certainly not something I’d be interested in if it were some other author, but, somehow, hearing and seeing Gibson talk about his work and the future and writing in the back of a moving car was an oddly engaging format.  I think, in particular, hearing his voice talking much like he writes was appealing, at least to me.

Of course, it’s not something that would interest anyone who wasn’t a Gibson fan.  It’s not the kind of thing that someone who’s interested in simply science-fiction or writing, for instance, would find all that appealing.  I think, too, that Gibson himself is an acquired taste.  Even people who have enjoyed his writing may not be particularly captivated by this documentary.  The “arty” portion of the film was somewhat, well, annoying, to be honest.  When the film-maker was being subtle, by altering the view outside the car’s windows, it was good.  However, when the effort was more obvious, it was just distracting and irritating.  I don’t know quite what he was going for with some of that video stream-of-consciousness but it failed at being anything but confusing and silly.  A straight interview with Gibson talking to us from the back of the car would have been better, I think.  He is, after all, the draw for this film.

Some of the extras were nice, though.  For instance, some of the things that were cut out and compiled with the DVD were as interesting as anything that were included.  In fact, I think I would have just left them in the main part of the film.  There were also several readings, by Gibson and others, which had no video with them, that were nice, too.  I just closed my eyes and listened to Gibson read his own writing, feeling the pace and timber of his voice.  Really, that may have been the best part of the whole thing.
I could have done without most of the film-maker talking about making the documentary itself, though.  There was only one section worth including and that was really about the interaction between the crew and Gibson as they filmed in the car.  The rest of the segments where the documentarian talking about his “process” are, to me, worthless crap.

In all, it was an interesting departure for me.  Worth a look for the hard-core William Gibson fan, but not really for anyone else.

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