Review |  My Old School: Documentary with Alan Cumming Subverts the Genre with Surreal Story

Film watched during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

In 1993, Brandon Lee starred in one of the UK’s most colorful royal stories. A brilliant and insightful high school student at a prestigious school in Scotland, he stood out among his classmates, dreamed of studying medicine and despite his oddities, built a range of friendships – harboring students who until then had been constant victims of bullying. His impressive story, full of surprising and almost cinematic factoids, was nothing more than a hoax created by an adult who wanted to relive his school days in order to correct his awkward adolescence. But almost 30 years after all that, Jono McLeod returns to the halls of his old school Bearsden Academy, for a cathartic experience that might even be uninviting – if it weren’t so well told.

In an excellent combination between the documentary factor and the drama, My Old School it is an unexpected and sensitive journey that, even in the face of such a problematic account, manages to be sweet and sprinkled with a touch of humor. With a spectacular narrative and very well constructed, the production invites the audience to a peculiar school reunion, in which former classmates help to reassemble Lee’s farce from their own experiences with him. And without hard feelings and with genuine impartiality, McLeod turns his documentary into a box of memorabilia, delivering a different experience to the audience by merging different genres and formats.

With the aid of animation, Brandon Lee’s bizarre story becomes a fun and picturesque journey through space-time, which honors documentary lovers, as it provides an adventure to fiction lovers, who naturally would not be attracted by the documentary aspect. of the narrative. And in that mix, Alan Cumming becomes a wonderful surprise. Dubbing the audio interview with Lee (whose real name is another), the star delivers the right expressiveness, proving once again that he is capable of navigating among the most diverse narrative formats, always with authenticity and insight.

Enjoy watching:

Bringing a bittersweet taste to the audience, My Old School leads us to the most disparate and conflicting emotions. While we see a narcissist unable to discover his true professional calling, we also see a fragile man who yearns to fulfill an unspoken promise to his father on his deathbed. At the same time, the strangeness of his methods intrigues us, confuses us and causes us mixed feelings. But the well-aligned narrative and dynamic, interactive direction of Jono McLeod they fulfill their role by delivering a delicate outcome, which does not judge their character analyzed here, but seeks to understand him beyond his lies and problematic decisions. And will fake Brandon Lee one day fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor? We do not know. What we do know is that – definitely – some real stories are way stranger than any fiction.

Don’t forget to watch:

Recommended Posts