2017 Oscar-nominated Docs, Reviewed

[You should probably turn on notes]

It's tough to review a documentary. Like any genre, there’s no clear metric to judge it by because there’s no single goal they share. Some aim to provoke, others to inspire; some are didactic deep-dives, others meditative character portraits. Some, as we find this year, are desperate cries for help. The difference with the documentary format, is that some things are out of the filmmaker’s control. Can the director be blamed for a “weak" character arc? “Obvious” melodrama? Likewise, can they honestly be praised for a compelling twist they’ve seemingly stumbled into? Is it happenstance or found art? Does the distinction even matter?

I don’t have the tools to properly critique the five Oscar-nominated…

Read notes
  • Icarus
  • Strong Island
  • Last Men in Aleppo
  • Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
  • Faces Places