Driving Me Crazy
This documentary chronicles the exploits of Andrew Heller’s multi-million dollar black-musical, ‘Body and Soul’, using Nick Broomfield as an archivist for the development of this production.
Unfortunately, though, early on in the filming, Nick’s money is reduced due to the backer’s ‘wariness’ in this endeavor. Thus forcing Nick to reduce this documentary down to a two-man crew (him, and Rob Levi).
In turn, this new state of play prompts Nick to add a proviso to this clause -- that he is allowed to film absolutely everything he and his cameraman see's, and he means everything.
Thankfully, the backer's agrees to his demands. Allowing Nick the opportunity to incorporate the development of his documentary into the musical-documentary itself, which inadvertently, also allows him the scope to comment on the absurd and rather surreal situations he's then placed in.
For example, Andrew Heller gets the writer, Joe Hindy, to write and star in a section of this project by acting a 'writer' for this project. Sound's pretty crazy, doesn't it? Nick agrees. And this is shown in his debonair stance in this matter.
However, other aspects are taken much more seriously by Nick, and he records many facets of the rehearsal process, such as: the singing, the dancing, and the overall development of the show. And do you know what? At the end of the day this makes the 'documentary side' of this documentary all the more sweeter. Even if its abysmal fall from grace by the men with the money was a cert from the get go.
Poor Nick. But good on film though.
Try to imagine specks of rain trickling down a window pane. Now some of these droplets will converge with others, presently present, and amalgamate themselves into a collective whole. Whilst other droplet will bypass whatever is in their way, and shoot off down said pane in a very striking and aloof manner.
You see, to me, this is a very liberating film on how things are done between the men with vision, and the men with cash. Moreover, I also feel that Nick Broomfield plays a brilliant patsy within the scheme of things. As he comments on how some of the problems in the 'theater business' are carried out, due to bad communication and inane direction.
Honestly, at times I found myself continuously uttering ‘How did these chin-less nerks get a job? Are they somebody's Nephew?’. As it just goes to show that men-with-money = men-without-no-common-sense-whatsoever.
However, unlike the money-men in question, most of the performers and choreographers related to the show are shown in a very good light. With some breathtaking songs vocalized and animated movements demonstrated throughout this entire piece. Also, a notable mention has to go to the camp choreographer, George Faison, who is shown in the best light of all. As his rather bold and demonstrative jibes towards Nick and his fellow students are a constant highlight of this film.
Advertently, this method does additionally give him the opening he needs to comment on what is happening during filming. Thus bestowing a much more personal connection between him and his audience (i.e. less editing, more life).
OK, I know that all of this does sound a trifle highfalutin and pompous in tone. But trust me when I say that 'Driving Me Crazy' really works as a film in it's own right, folks. It has character. It has plot. And it has a charming and congenial way about it, due to the suspenseful nature of the evolved pretext (i.e. What will this film turn out like?).
Overall I'd say that this documentary is 'Cinema Verite' at it's finest; with an organic and jovial flair that is very funny to watch. Furthermore, it's a rather nice illustration on how creativity and financial endeavors do not always see eye to eye, and that sometimes a unified truth is much more pertinent than cash or creativity.
I like to think of it as an 'anti reality television programme' myself. Where the story is progressed by the man with the camera, rather than the master-manipulators behind the scenes. Do you know what I mean, Mr Nick?
THE RATING: A