The Films of Kirby Dick
Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate
I Am Not a Freak
Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist
Showgirls: Glitz & Angst
Twist of Faith
This Film Is Not Yet Rated (September 21/07)
This Film Is Not Yet Rated is a smug little documentary from director Kirby Dick that offers up few insights into the American ratings system, as Dick generally places the emphasis on elements that are either overtly obvious or simply uninteresting. The filmmaker clearly doesn't have enough material to sustain a 98-minute running time, and there's little doubt that the film's repetitive nature becomes increasingly difficult to overlook - with such problems exacerbated by Dick's unfortunate penchant for dwelling on the minutia of the MPAA (ie does anybody care that they employ the use of a clergyman?) That being said, there are a few interesting tidbits to be had here - as Dick spotlights some of the inconsistencies within the MPAA's decision-making process (with their harshness towards gay-themed movies certainly the most overt example of this). But This Film Is Not Yet Rated is ultimately just far too uneven to make much of an impact, and there's little doubt that for every effective sequence within the movie, there's another that comes off as nothing more than padding (this is especially true of everything revolving around the private eye that Dick hires to track down the MPAA's members).
The Invisible War (January 21/13)
Directed by Kirby Dick, The Invisible War is an investigative documentary revolving around the epidemic of rape within the United States Armed Forces - as Dick interviews several women (and one man) who were sexually assaulted while serving under the military's assorted branches. (The filmmaker also looks at what the government, if anything, is doing about this growing problem.) There's little doubt that Dick does a superb job of immediately drawing the viewer into the grim proceedings, as the movie's opening stretch contains several impressively heartwrenching sequences (eg a montage of victims describing exactly what happened to them). It subsequently becomes more and more obvious that The Invisible War is at its best when focused on the personal stories of its subjects, as the engrossing nature of these tales, to an increasingly pronounced degree, stands in sharp contrast to Dick's dry and uninvolving exploration of the government's lackluster response to the situation (ie such segments, though interesting, almost feel as though they'd be more at home within a garden-variety news report). The inclusion of several palpably emotional interludes - eg one of the victims tearfully explains just what her husband's support has meant to her - buoys the viewer's interest on a fairly regular basis, which ultimately does confirm The Invisible War's place as an erratically-paced yet often harrowing documentary that shines a light on an important (and under-reported) topic.