‘Becoming Iconic’ Tells Confusing, Messy Stories About Film Directing

Ulises Duenas

 

Becoming Iconic is a strange film. It is, at times, an exploration of movie directing with insights from veteran directors. Most of the time, however, it is a weird exploration of the life and mind of Jonathan Baker as he rants in front of a camera. 

 

Baker is the director of 2017’s Inconceivable, starring Nicolas Cage. It is the only movie that Baker has directed and the core of this documentary as he interviews other directors, including Jodie Foster and Ridley Scott, about their first time directing a feature-length film.

 

It’s an interesting premise that has a lot of potential, but unfortunately, this work is mainly focused on Baker’s experiences. That’s not to say that his story isn’t worth telling, but when you see the premise of the movie on paper, it feels like the end product is a bait and switch. When you’re including such big names in the marketing and opening of a documentary, they should be featured more prominently

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The biggest problem with this documentary is the sporadic way that it’s edited – which veers from interviews with Baker to interviews with other directors to old photos and footage of people associated with Baker at a confusing pace with hardly any understandable transition. What’s worse is that the film uses various weird camera angles and visual effects like random bright lights, dark vignetting, random zoom-ins in footage of Baker just walking around or talking on the phone.

 

It reminded me of shows from the early 2000s, where people explore haunted houses and the camera just randomly speeds up and slows down when turning a corner or hugging a wall at a slanted angle. When all of that is accompanied by Baker’s voice ranting from one subject to another, it can feel like you’re in a fever dream trying to figure out what the topic at hand even is. The audio mixing is also an issue. There are times when tense music is blaring over Baker talking, and you can barely tell what he is trying to say.

 

 

Jonathan Baker and the experienced directors in this documentary have interesting stories to tell about the ins and outs of film directing, but they needed a more skillful director and editor to do them justice.

 

Watching Becoming Iconic is like trying to listen to an over-caffeinated stranger tell you a story at a rock concert with the lights flickering.

 

Author Bio:

Ulises Duenas is a senior writer at Highbrow Magazine.

 

For Highbrow Magazine

 

Image Sources:                 

--Cinedigm

--Wikimedia (Creative Commons)

 

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