SilentDawn’s review published on Letterboxd:
The silver screen. The projector lights up and we tune in. Visuals, sound, and collective communion flow out of the screen like an intense heat wave. These images, these feelings, these ideas; how real are they really? The cinema has always been praised for its spectacular bursts of originality and imagination, carrying the worries, pains, and troubles of the audience away into a clouded fog, a fog that vanishes simultaneously along with the remembrance of reality.
However, what if the fog itself is an illusion, crumbling the very fabric of the cinema into a dusty whiff of salty popcorn? Orson Welles' F for Fake doesn't just tear the concept of deception to shreds, but it also assembles a new form; a contrast between the playful and the deceitful, between reality and hallucinations.
Written, directed, and starring Orson Welles; F For Fake isn't so much a documentary regarding fraud and trickery as it is a dissection of those very concepts. Tackling issues within the fields of art and magic, fame and isolation, duplicity and honesty; Welles narrates and visualizes stories and concepts that are continually thrown in front of your endlessly-rampaged eyeballs. It's a ruthless and unforgiving film in regards to its editing style, but that's exactly why it might be the finest edited film that I've ever seen.
Orson Welles, both within film and as a prominent and vibrant personality, never ceased to have a magnetic presence, and F For Fake might be the greatest example of his genuine electricity as a performer and as an artist. His playfulness and his passionate dedication to the material only intensifies the sheer boldness on display. It's impossible to look away from the screen, and the combination of Welles' glorious narration and the sublime visuals is a true delight to witness in motion.
As much as I adore Citizen Kane, I would be lying if I didn't say that this is easily the most entertaining film from the profoundly influential director. In many ways, it could be considered his greatest work. His charisma and his fiery adoration for cinema was at an all-time high, and it shows Orson at his most fiery and jolly, effortlessly toying with expectation and convention until the curtain dissolves into ash.
This dizzying masterpiece only lasts 88 minutes, and before you know it, the final frames have flickered by; leaving only you to pick up the scattered pieces of your mind as Orson Welles mischievously and heartily crackles with laughter within your psyche. In essence, F For Fake is the first example of a mic drop, and I'm happy to be part of the stunned audience.