Fast, Cheap & Out of Control

82 minutes

This 1997 documentary is Errol Morris's best film, a clear advance on Gates of Heaven, Vernon, Florida, The Thin Blue Line, and A Brief History of Time. It alternates interviews with four unconnected individuals: a lion tamer, a topiary gardener, a mole-rat specialist, and a robot scientist. The result is more a poem than a documentary, made coherent by Morris's formal precision: he links found footage with the interviews, black and white with color, in a dreamlike continuity that invites the viewer to trace his or her own connections. It's not at all difficult to watch, as the premise might suggest; in fact it's beautiful as well as moving, an achievement of synthesis that announces Morris's arrival as a master.

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