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De Palma review: An incisive and revealing doc about the director's best, and worst, work

James Luxford
De Palma
4.0

In this documentary, two young filmmakers interview the great Brian De Palma about his career, philosophies, and the often frustrating business of working with Hollywood, from his early days making avant garde and disturbing thrillers, to hits like Carrie, Scarface and Mission: Impossible.

De Palma is disarmingly honest about his failures, often bemused by his success, and uses the phrase “holy mackerel!” with endearing frequency. He narrates his career film-by-film, peppering his descriptions with anecdotes that will delight trivia fans and cinema geeks. Particularly pleasing is the director recalling filming Scarface's finale without an injured Al Pacino, and with Steven Spielberg directing one shot.

It’s the famous director’s regrets that are most fascinatingly explored in this honest and tell-all documentary. Anyone interested in the philosophies of artistic endeavour will find this educational, but fans of De Palma's films will be in heaven.

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