Point And Shoot

Movies, Documentary
2 out of 5 stars
Point and Shoot

A steady diet of action movies gives a shy, OCD-afflicted only child from middle-class Baltimore a yearning for adventure, and we see the results when a grown-up Matthew VanDyke grabs a video camera and bikes around the turbulent Middle East.

Fielding questions from documentary-maker Marshall Curry, VanDyke later reflects on his hair-raising experiences for this film, not perhaps realising he comes across like some airhead narcissist. It’s time to cringe when VanDyke invents a thrusting alter-ego – meet manly adventurer ‘Max Hunter’! – gets to fire big guns when he befriends US troops in Afghanistan, then puts his newfound manhood to the test by joining the Arab Spring uprising in Libya.

VanDyke’s on-the-hoof footage from the anti-Gaddafi war zone is at times frighteningly vivid, yet it’s clear he’s more interested in playing the fatigues-wearing freedom-fighter than genuinely engaging with the Libyan people. Curry’s film hints at the role of media images in determining such self-conscious behaviour on the world’s frontlines, yet misses an opportunity to take VanDyke to task. By neglecting to mention that Libya remains in crisis, the film dismayingly replicates VanDyke’s blithe US-centric world view.

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