Jasper Mall ★★★½

I find most documentaries to be crap, but this is an exception. It makes no pretense at rendering a journalistic truth, and instead seems to present an impressionist reality: one of the last years in the life of a declining shopping mall in Jasper, Alabama, and the rag tag collection of employees and shoppers who haunt its halls. The movie casts zero judgment on any of them other than to acknowledge the somber nature of their continued, expiring existence. Actually the whole thing has the feeling of a muted, sober horror film: the people seem almost stranded within the confines of the mall and its grounds and the camera never leaves the premises even as, one by one, store workers and customers begin to disappear, “Ten Little Indians” style. With each loss, the mall structure itself feels more and more hollow, like the slow motion evacuation of a nearly forgotten dream. It’s sad and sweet at once in very genuine ways.