With just three films from his incredible filmography, William Friedkin secured his legacy as one of the finest directors in the history of American cinema. In the 1970s, Friedkin gave the world The French Connection, The Exorcist and Sorcerer – a trio of essential masterpieces of the decade that any self-respecting movie buff surely worships. But who is the man behind the films?
This passionate and worshipful documentary prays at the altar of Friedkin, as superfans including Quentin Tarantino, Willem Dafoe and more line up to reminisce about the director’s remarkable body of work and distinctive style. Gushy at times, the film is often little more than a love letter to the director and can occasionally neglect to probe particularly deeply. It is the reminiscences of the director himself that are the most fascinating, if a little self-congratulatory at times. But with a career so filled with gems, it would be difficult not to be a little cocky.
Those who have read Friedkin’s lengthy memoir The Friedkin Connection will certainly be familiar with a lot of the anecdotes told in this documentary from Italian filmmaker Francesco Zippel, while the 107 minute runtime can often feel a little drawn out – especially when so many of the minutes are spent praising the man. It can feel hagiographic and at times tedious, but for fans of the director and his remarkable body of work, it might just be nirvana. Friedkin is certainly an engaging raconteur, and his anecdotes – as self-serving as they often are – are fascinating listening for anyone interested in cinema.
Though often nothing more than a biased love letter to the acclaimed director, Friedkin Uncut offers a passionate glimpse at some of the stories behind your favourite movies.