News Smoking plane Fly Colt Fly

Published on May 29th, 2014 | by Drew G.


REVIEW by Daily UW

Written by: Dylan Teague McDonald and Zosha Millman,
The Daily of the University of Washington, May 29, 2014  LINK

‘Fly Colt Fly: The Legend of the Barefoot Bandit,’ dir. Adam and Andrew Gray

Animation is a remarkable device. Limited only by the imagination of the animator, it can portray virtually any scenario. In “Fly Colt Fly,” a documentary which chronicles the exploits of a young thief who made his name by not being documented, animation is used to fill in gaps of Colton Harris-Moore’s (the Barefoot Bandit) story. Using talking-head interviews to get the story, directors Adam and Andrew Gray reenact scenes from Harris-Moore’s tale with animation and occasional live-action segments.

It might seem like an odd technique at first. If documentary is founded on truth, or the appearance thereof, isn’t the artifice of animation antithetical to the documentary form? In 2008, Ari Folman’s film “Waltz with Bashir” used animation to depict personal narratives of war and kicked off a small revolution in animated documentaries. “Fly Colt Fly” is just the latest in that trend.

What unfolds is the saga of a brilliant young mind denied a place in society, a testament to the failure of systems: education, child protection, and law enforcement. Like the most popular history lessons, neutrality and accuracy are doubtful, but the narrative has undeniable power. Harris-Moore is, in this telling, just a smart kid looking for an adventure. When cops and local militia come after him with rifles, it’s a sobering asymmetry that asks why people would want to kill a teenager to protect material belongings.

Along the way, Harris-Moore gains fans who secure his folk-hero status as they print T-shirts and write him songs, which make up much of the film’s soundtrack. None of this music is up to Woody Guthrie’s snuff, but then again, this kid’s no Pretty Boy Floyd. He crashes planes, barely lives to walk away, and ultimately ends up letting the cops catch him. So maybe the story’s not entirely true, but it’s still a pretty fun ride.

Thursday, May 29, at 6:30 p.m., SIFF Cinema Uptown and Saturday, May 31, at 11 a.m., Egyptian Theatre


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