Dramatic reenactments in documentaries are rarely that effective. And the ambitious, starry level to which they’re taken in the otherwise involving biodoc “Framing John DeLorean” only underscores how distracting and unconvincing they can be.
That’s no fault of lead Alec Baldwin, made up to resemble the swoopy-haired, lantern-jawed (by way of plastic surgery) disgraced auto magnate, or such capable co-players as Morena Baccarin, Josh Charles and Michael Rispoli.
But directors Sheena M. Joyce and Don Argott could have easily ditched the stagy narrative bits (and behind-the scenes chats with the actors) and relied entirely on the vast amount of fascinating, well-assembled archival footage that, along with recent interviews with the late DeLorean’s children, co-workers, lawyer and other observers, nimbly recount the renegade’s complex, tabloid-ready adult life.
Highlights (and lowlights) include DeLorean’s exceptional rise at General Motors; 1973 breakaway to start his own company and creation of the notoriously ill-fated DeLorean sports car; his desperate, illicit attempt to raise cash and the federal sting operation, arrest and trial that ensued; marriage to actress-model Cristina Ferrare; and much more.
One of the tale’s great ironies is the pivotal, hugely publicized use of the DeLorean in “Back to the Future” shortly after the vehicle crashed and burned on the car market. The joke was on the auto maker, in more ways than one.
‘Framing John DeLorean’
Rating: Not rated
When: Opens Friday
Where: Landmark Hillcrest
Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes