American: The Bill Hicks Story

Film, Documentaries
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars
Since his passing in 1994, the image of maverick US comedian Bill Hicks has been adopted as a crude totem that equates chain-smoking and invective with a vague, post-punk defiance. As this exhaustive, moving documentary confirms, not only did Hicks’s fiery, ultra-articulate belligerence make him a rebel with a cause but he carried with him a permanent sadness relating to how his comedy was received and the state of the world. Painstakingly recreating the testimony of friends and family by manipulating and animating archive photographs, the directors tell Hicks’s story in a clear, linear fashion and never push for undue meaning.

The breadth and quality of the archive is nothing short of astounding – there’s even grainy VHS footage of his endless tours through dives such as The Comedy Pouch in Possum Ridge, Arkansas – so even those who shrug at his combative style of humour won’t be able to deny that this is a model of detailed and distanced biographical filmmaking.

By: David Jenkins



Release details

Release date:
Friday May 14 2010
110 mins

Cast and crew

Matt Harlock, Paul Thomas
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