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All Critics (22)
| Top Critics (14)
| Fresh (18)
| Rotten (4)
Filmmakers Benny and Josh Safdie use real-time footage to follow this hopeful, affable young man as he becomes a bitter has-been over the course of a decade.
A compellingly unconventional, elliptical sports documentary that explores the mysterious realm of might-have-been.
Like a dismaying coming-of-age movie in which little is learned beyond the fickle chemistry between dreams and business.
It's a small film, but as a cautionary tale? Swish!
It's a spirited experiment in documentary form, with the directors showing great imagination in their fusion of new and archival footage, and their portrait of Cooke, assembled largely from offhand moments, conveying a sharp dramatic sensibility.
The question of why Cooke's career never materialized hangs over the movie, but is never answered. What emerges instead is a portrait of a talented teenager being readied ... for a future that doesn't arrive.
The film's informed voyeuristic style ... allows Cooke's actions to speak louder than any words the often soft spoken protagonist might have shed on his life.
The Safdies have done remarkably well in resurrecting an old project, which although lacking in production value, simply needed to be seen by the world.
That the first half of the film is largely older footage (previously shot for an earlier project by Adam Shopkorn) endows it with wistfulness. No matter how merry the events, they're obviously distant fragments of a broken dream.
It's clear enough that even if his turns into a cautionary tale, his is also the story shared by many more kids than LeBron's.
Lazy, fly-on-the-wall filmmaking. The Safdie brothers have the benefit of some rare extant footage, but absolutely no idea how to shape it into an interesting narrative.
How could a top prospect drop off the map within a year? That's the cautionary tale spun by Lenny Cooke, a troubling, artfully constructed documentary.
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