Another Great Film From McElwee
Jim M. | Springfield MA | 06/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ross McElwee is one of the finest filmmakers working today. To call him a documentarian may give the wrong impression. His films are more personal essays on his life, and the people around him.
BRIGHT LEAVES is yet another essay of his. This one follows McElwee as he traces his family in North Carolina tobacco country. Upon seeing an old Gary Cooper film by the name of BRIGHT LEAF, which follows a tobacco farmer battling a larger one, he begins to wonder if the film was based on his great grandfather, who had a similar battle with the Duke tobacco family. This leads him to interview family, tobacco farmers, Patricia Neal (co-star of BRIGHT LEAF), and the wife of the author of the book the film was based on.
The only thing keeping my review from five stars is it isn't up to his earlier film TIME INDEFINITE, which I would name as probably one of the fifty greatest films ever made. If any other filmmaker had made this it would be in the five star range, but just in comparison to his other films, it isn't his best.
As for the DVD, while the transfer is very nice, there are very few extras. Just a few text screens, none of which add all that much to the film or justify the rather expensive price of the DVD.
But this is a must see for McElwee fans."