DVD Review: Two Great Docs in ‘A Film Unfinished,’ ‘Inside Job’

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CHICAGO – Two of the best documentaries of 2010 were recently released on DVD and both are well-worth your time in the very near future as they serve as prime examples of the vitality of the form of non-fiction filmmaking. Both “A Film Unfinished” and the Oscar-winning “Inside Job” are riveting filmmaking, proof that subjects that one might consider dry can be turned into a devastating experience.

HollywoodChicago.com DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 4.0/5.0

Just glancing at the descriptions of “A Film Unfinished” or “Inside Job,” a potential renter or buyer might think that they know all there is to know about their subjects or, worse, that they’re going to be lectured like they’re sitting in a classroom on a Saturday night. What more could we possibly learn about the Holocaust after decades of books and films on the subject? And how could a subject like the fall of the economy possibly be dramatically interesting? Directors Yael Hersonski and Charles Ferguson prove that it is the filmmaker and what they can bring to the subject that makes an interesting movie, not just the subject itself. Don’t avoid either of these films because you think you know the whole story or you’ve heard enough about the economy or the Holocaust. You’ll still find them riveting.

Inside Job was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 8th, 2011
Inside Job was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on March 8th, 2011
Photo credit: Sony

The more high-profile of the two docs would have to be “Inside Job,” which won Charles Ferguson the Academy Award for Best Documentary (which he should have won already for the even-better “No End in Sight” from a few years ago). Narrated by Matt Damon, the film brilliantly distills the economic crisis down to its basic elements but doesn’t dumb it down at all. Those of you who read “The New Yorker” cover-to-cover every week will find it as interesting as those of you who have no idea what a predatory lender is. That’s truly remarkable. It’s exactly what Ferguson did with Iraq in “No End in Sight.” He finds a way to bridge the complex and the accessible into one cohesive project. It’s a great movie.

A Film Unfinished was released on DVD on March 8th, 2011
A Film Unfinished was released on DVD on March 8th, 2011
Photo credit: Oscilloscope

“A Film Unfinished” isn’t quite as good a film but it’s still well-worth seeing as it offers a glimpse into an amazing chapter in history. The film focuses on the Nazi propaganda machine, one that filmed a recording of life in a Jewish ghetto to try and sell to the world that it wasn’t that bad. Years later, footage was found detailing how much of that propaganda film was staged, including multiple takes and set-up scenes. The attempt to hide the truth should be a powerful statement for any era, as it proves how much film is in the hands of the filmmaker. Oscilloscope has put together yet another fantastic release for the film. They’vs quickly become one of my favorite studios with excellent transfers, special features, and even packaging.

The world of documentary filmmaking can be a tough sell. How do you convince people to see movies on the economy and Nazi propaganda? Take my word for it. You won’t regret either of these rentals. They may not offer escapism but they do expand your view of history in ways that you probably didn’t get in school. Don’t miss either.

“Inside Job” Special Features
o Deleted Scenes
o The Making of Inside Job
o Commentary with Director Charles Ferguson & Producer Audrey Mears

“A Film Unfinished” Special Features
o Interview with Author and Film Researcher Adrian Wood
o Scholar Michael Berenbaum on A Film Unfinished
o Death Mills (1945) A Short Film by Billy Wilder - Includes Some of the First Footage Shot From Within Concentration Camps Post-Liberation
o Study Guide - For Educators and Students to Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Themes and Lessons in the Film
o An Exclusive Essay by Author and Film Scholar Annette Insdorf

“Inside Job” and “A Film Unfinished” were released on DVD on March 8th, 2011. “Inside Job” was directed by Charles Ferguson and is released by Sony Pictures Classics. “A Film Unfinished” was directed by Yael Hersonski and is released by Oscilloscope.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

David Smith's picture


I cant believe i never heard of this?

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