Tonight I saw I Am Belfast, a documentary about the Irish city.
Conceptually, I was on board. An elderly woman narrates a historical travelogue about Belfast, personifying herself as the city as we see the visual representation of what she's referencing.
Well, yes and no.
Visually, I have zero complaints. Cinematographer Christopher Doyle of In the Mood fame does a marvelous job capturing the beauty and the horrors of this famous location. Whether it's a bombed-out street corner or a landscape of breathtaking proportions, Doyle puts us there, not as viewers, but as visitors.
The issues come with the scripting. Though I love the idea of the star of the film—Belfast itself—having a voice in human form, the commentary had a few too many winks to avoid being cheesy. The pace in the beginning was brutal too. With landscapes that calming, I was nearly tempted to doze off.
Because the film was more like poetry than prose, I expected more of a definite rhythm but instead got lengthy flashbacks and abbreviated stories. All of the humor sat near the end, when really the beginning needed it most.
I applaud the inventive approach, but feel the sentiment suffered as a result.