I’m going to keep this review short, partly because my M.E. is wearing me down now I’m in the middle of a uni term, but mostly because I feel as though this opinion won’t be a popular one, and I don’t want to drag it out for the majority who will disagree. After watching Orson Welle’s long-lost-til-now The Other Side of the Wind, rather than being blown away by the final work of a talent gone by, I was unimpressed by the messy filmmaking and petty sentiments from a director whose best work was far, far behind him.
I suppose this might mostly be the fault of those who uncovered the footage and edited a fraction of it into this film from apparently over 100 hours worth of choice. Because the result to me at least is an incoherent mishmash that I could hardly follow, and wasn’t blown away by when I could. Usually, I would try to put a synopsis here, but aside from saying that an obvious Welles analog has made an unbearably pretentious, rather misogynistic film, and he has to face all of the people that come along with it, the plot is tricky to follow, unnecessarily meta, and distractingly irrelevant in 2018. From what I can tell of it, Welles seems to be making jabs at seemingly ‘pretentious’ directors like Antonioni and Godard; if he were more successful when he conceived the film, this pill may have been easier to swallow, but as a filmmaker who had been wavering for decades, it seems a little ‘old man yells at cloud’.
For what its worth, the visuals are interesting and dynamic, and I particularly liked the use of different film stocks and aspect ratios to suggest footage captured by a huge range of people over an impressive stretch of time. I just wish that the footage had been worth the wait.