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'Incident at Loch Ness' **** 051405
The Work = ****
Essentially this is a documentary style film that purports to be the collected footage of an ill fated expedition by famed filmmaker Werner Herzog. He and other members of the expedition are seen in talking head style interviews interspersed throughout the documentary footage of Herzog’s trip. Now, I know several critics and press were fooled into thinking this film or parts of it were real. To me watching it, it seemed like pure 'Spinal Tap' style mockumentary all the way.
I say that with the best of possible intentions. Yes everyone in the film is who they are billed as, meaning Herzog is himself, Zak Penn is himself, etc. They are all industry people and all play themselves. Penn however, plays a parody of himself. He makes himself the foil and plays the role as a smarmy Hollywood writer trying to buy his way into becoming a producer.
I sat watching this movie with a grin on my face the whole time. I’m a big film dork and seeing Werner Herzog playing the lead in this film turned out to be simply too cool. He fills the role well, even getting to play the hero briefly at the end. I realized watching this film that Herzog could easily have an acting career. (Actually he has played small roles in several films, but here he shows he can carry a movie.)
For the first half of the film it is more or less a straight forward would-be documentary. Things don’t go well. Herzog wants to do a legitimist documentary on the myths and weirdo’s surrounding Loch Ness. The producer (and ultimately director of Incident at Loch Ness) Penn wants to fake a monster and have matching jump suites for the cast and crew. He even hires a model in a bikini to play a sonar expert.
The whole thing heads towards a boiling point until people start seeing a monster in the water. The film drifts towards the horror realm at that point. I loved every bit of it but I wished it had gone for more horror. I also wish there had been a bit more action in the film.
Still, I really enjoyed 'Incident at Loch Ness'. It is an easy film for me to recommend but I realize it is not for everyone. If you are a fan of Herzog, his work, and enjoy mockumentaries than it is pretty much guaranteed that you will get some enjoyment out of it. It helps to be a big film dork too.
DVD = ****
What’s neat is beyond the regular features listed above are a ton of hidden features. Dragging your mouse or pressing left or right with your remote in the menus reveals icons of the Loch Ness monster, “ Nessy.” Click these and you’ll gain access to bunch of different hidden features. All of the hidden features more or less focus on the real production of Incident at Loch Ness. There is a real commentary with Penn and Herzog. Although dry it is still interesting and there are not any gaps during it. The two talk throughout the film sharing anecdotes and background info. There is also a more jokey commentary track with Penn and some of the cast. Another notable feature is a 22 minute documentary on the making of 'Incident at Loch Ness'. It is a surprisingly info packed feature for something with such a short running time. There are also some stills and outtakes scattered about. The bonus features, hidden or not make the dvd pretty loaded and I only wish there had been a longer doc’ on the making of the film.
All Together = ****
'Incident at Loch Ness' Links:
Roger Ebert's Review (Which is how I found out about the film. It is a great review and since the film never played near me it was also the primary reason that I checked it out.)
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