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USA, 1997 (MIFF 1998, Documentaries)

Director: Errol Morris

Errol Morris' amazing, eccentric documentary is yet another satisfying chapter in the filmography of a self-confessed obsessive/compulsive who is never happier than when he is recording the lives of those even stranger than himself.

Festival audiences will be familiar with the extraordinary The Thin Blue Line (1988), Morris' investigation into the shooting of a Texas policeman that had a significant bearing on the outcome of the trial and subsequent appeal. Fast, Cheap and Out of Control takes a few strides back to works like Gates of Heaven (1978, an in-depth look at pet cemeteries) or 1981's Vernon, Florida, with the pastimes of oddballs on public display.

No shortage of current Hollywood luminaries worked on the project; Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty, Men in Black) gets behind the camera for an interview with one of Morris' four subjects, lion tamer Dave Hoover. Robert Richardson was responsible for the wild visual experiments in capturing images of George Mendonça's crazed topiary gardens, well before he attempted similar work on Oliver Stone's contentious Natural Born Killers.

The director's subjects explain their life missions, tasks the director has described as "four versions of Frankenstein." A robot scientist and an ardent fan of the Mole Rat round out this curious crew and Morris knits the four tales into something poetic and metaphysically meaningful that enchanted audiences at last year's Sundance Film Festival. A celebration of a universe of chaos peopled by happy crackpots who can draw immense pleasure from something as simple as the underground feeding habits of a hairless rodent with teeth the size of its head! Don't pass this one up.

Errol Morris has spent the past 20 years making some of the most distinctive documentaries committed to celluloid. Roger Ebert named Morris' Gates of Heaven (1978) as one of the ten best films of all time. In works such as Vernon, Florida (1981), The Thin Blue Line (1988) and A Brief History of Time (1991), Morris has created as interview style described as the "cinematic equivalent of psychoanalysis."

See also...


USA, 2004
Guerilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst USA ,/i>'Death to the Fascist insect that preys on the life of the people!' With that incendiary battle cry, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) declared war on … More »


Australia, 2008
“I've been called a minimalist composer for more than 30 years, and while I've never really agreed with the description, I've gotten used to it.” - Philip Glass ... In the year of his 70th birthd… More »


USA, 1981
Vernon, Florida is a film about some of the ordinary (which is to say extraordinary) people of a small town in Washington County, Florida. There is a man obsessed with shooting wild turkeys who takes… More »


USA, 1988
... ... The Thin Blue Line is both the recreation of the brutal murder of a Dallas policeman in 1976, and a passionate argument for the case of a man wrongly accused of the murder. While making an un… More »


UK, 1989
The Media Show goes on location with the making of the film version of A Brief History Of Time, Stephen Hawking's best-seller about the origins of the universe. Directed by Errol Morris (Thin Blue Li… More »

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