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2/3 of the documentary on reclusive author J.D. Salinger is engaging and fascinating learning about how J.D. grew to become a writer, join the army and his early failures in love. However, the latter third of the film drifts into tabloidish filmmaking with overdramatic music, silly editing tricks and unnecessary graphics that appear to be something out of TruTV or our modern-day "news" outlets, not an actual documentary.
It was interesting. One of those does what it says on the tin kind of docs
For a documentary that has at its disposal one of the most intriguing and mysterious figures in modern day history, it's a mighty shame that Salinger comes off so amateurish and lame, despite an ability to remain watchable thanks to its undeniably juicy content. This juicy content is so full of untapped goodness though, that in the end Salinger can be seen as a missed opportunity to truly get to the bottom of Salinger the writer once and for all.
Filmed by screenwriter wunderkind Shane Salerno who has given us such screen gems as Armageddon and Alien Vs Predator: Requiem, the feeling of Salinger is all over the place with quite shoddy re-enactments and some questionable stock footage making up a large part of proceedings, it's clear that Salerno struggled to put all the right eggs in the quite large basket. For a film that runs nigh on 2 plus hours, by the films end you still get a niggling feeling that some details where skimmed over or other details played out to long and the things we do find out make us less likely to appreciate J.D Salinger as a person.
I (as many others are) am a big fan of Salinger's work on Catcher in the Rye and while there are some interesting aspects and info shed about the book you can't help but feel a slight sense of sadness knowing that the man who wrote this novel was such a basket case of a human being. Parts of the documentary focusing on Salinger's personal life and preference for much younger women than he is, paints him as a preying type of male and his treatment towards his family and encounters with fans again displays him as a quite nasty human being. Whenever these aspects of the film take centre stage it makes it mighty hard to care for the story and the story works best when the focus is on Salinger's early life in the army and his return to normality afterwards. Other aspects of the film such as a horrid score and some random talking heads who have no real right being there again detract from a bizarre tale.
Finishing off with some revelations and giving an insight to the man who wrote one of the most loved books of all time makes Salinger a passable film but one that can easily be written off as a misfire and with years spent on its construction it's hard to imagine how such a mundane effort was produced as the final product. For die-hard fans only, the rest of us would be well advised to read the man's famous novel once more.
2 and a half New Yorker rejection letters out of 5
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It could be I'm rather partial to Salinger, but I absolutely love this documentary.
An average documentary on an extraordinary figure in literary history who basically wrote only one phenomenal Best Seller & chose never to write again.
JD Salinger undoubtedly a creative genius was the mind behind the book Catcher in the Rye which became a global phenomenon & due to a negative past experience with Hollywood he refused to let it be filmed.
The Documentary is not the best in layout & format but this man was so fascinating (especially his 299 days in battle during WWII) it's covers all the holes. If you literature this is a must see & Catcher in the Rye is a must read.
Like many other reviewers have already mentioned, this film was overall nothing short of average. Learning the great writer's beginnings, war experience, writing passion was the best parts of the film. The remaining portion was not needed, especially learning about his love life.
lost interest after a while, but the ending shocked both myself and my fiancee both. we are very excited for Salinger's posthumous books to come out.
Interesting, eye-opening, documentary on the great novelist JD Salinger. Well-researched, it includes details of his life that weren't widely known.
Has the usual documentary stuff: a linear blow-by-blow account of his life, including some the more pivotal events and how they later affected him. Quite fascinating how his character is shaped, and how he then puts some aspects of his own character, and experiences, into his writing.
However, it's not all wine and roses and only positivity. All aspects of Salinger's life are revealed, and some will surprise you. Perfect he was not.
On the down side, I felt that most of the interviews with stars were unnecessary. They really didn't have much to add and were just there as a cheerleader squad.
Very interesting and well worth watching.
The life of J.D. Salinger deserved a great documentary. Unfortunately this is not it. It's an overly long, sprawling, uneven look into the life of an American great. There are some great moments, especially in the first half. The section covering Salinger in World War Two is particularly well handled. And some of the interviews are illuminating. But the second half and the coverage of his reclusive life is overly dramatic and not very satisfying.