A Fuller LifeCultureCinemaMovie reviews
The documentary is adapted from Fuller’s award-winning biography A Third Face: My Tale of Writing, Fighting, and Filmmaking. The film is split into 12 sections, each of which is narrated by one of Fuller’s friends or admirers, featuring stars such as James Franco, Tim Roth, Bill Duke, Jennifer Beals and Mark Hamill.
As Fuller’s first film project behind the camera, it’s a rather successful one. Although the editing isn’t spectacular, and the film feels somewhat reductive considering the achievements in the life of Sam Fuller; it is still a great homage to her father and it has been handled affectionately by all involved. Apart from a brief introduction from Samantha, the narration is all Sam Fuller’s words, taken straight from his fascinating autobiography and accompanied by various clips from his movies and small 16mm samples from his private archives. Ultimately, the film feels like a faithful storytelling of the man’s life – Fuller does a good job converting the autobiography to the screen.
Covering in detail the most important aspects of his life, the film takes us through 1920s New York, with pictures of Sam Fuller as a young copyboy and then as a crime reporter, his involvement in the reporting of State executions, and then onto travelling the United States as a freelancer during the Great Depression. The documentary spends a significant amount of time recounting Fuller’s experiences in World War II, accompanied by pictures of him and images from his various war films, including his magnum opus The Big Red One. Finally, the documentary covers Fuller’s life in Hollywood as a filmmaker and as a family man, which feels a little lacklustre after such an evocative portion of the film, but are nonetheless intricate and appealing aspects of his exceptional life.
Although it may at times breach the objectivity of a documentary, being rather over-sentimental and clichéd, this film is a unique take on the genre, and celebrates the adventurous life of an extraordinary man in great detail. It is not only a celebration of Sam Fuller’s life, but a tribute to individualism and the unconventional, and a celebration of life itself.
A Fuller Life is released nationwide on 15th May 2015
Watch the trailer for A Fuller Life here: