Title – Val (2021)
Director – Ting Poo & Leo Scott (feature debuts)
Cast – Val Kilmer, Jack Kilmer
Plot – An exploration of the life and times of Val Kilmer, utilizing countless hours of footage the ailing performer shot across his journey as both an upcoming actor and one of the hottest stars in Hollywood.
“The life you live is the story you tell”
Review by Eddie on 27/08/2021
A fittingly unique documentary for an undeniably unique figure of pop culture and Hollywood, Val is a refreshingly real and honest examination of actor Val Kilmer, whose multi-decade career in the movie industry now finds itself in a sad position following the performers battle with throat cancer that has left Kilmer with difficulty talking and completing everyday tasks.
Utilizing a vast array of homemade video footage Kilmer had shot throughout his career as both a budding actor and one of Hollywood’s most in demand leading men, Ting Poo and Leo Scott’s documentary is as close as we will ever get to living alongside Kilmer and while the documentary like the man himself is anything but typical, this is both an insightful look at what it means to make it in Hollywood and achieving ones dreams as well as the harsh reality of what a fall from grace looks like as one attempts to master their craft and remain on top of their game.
From short lived highs such as becoming The Batman, starring alongside your childhood acting hero Marlon Brando or being cast as a lead in a play only to be placed behind Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn, Val is a showcase for the fickle industry that is Hollywood and the acting game as well as a showcase for the talented Kilmer who possessed an abundance of on screen charisma and talent but perhaps was never allowed to truly shine the way in which he and his fans would’ve liked to have seen.
Getting help to deliver this documentary from his son Jack who narrates his fathers written word as we follow his life from a child right through to college student/budding screen actor (making his debut in all-time great comedy Top Secret), Val never once feels like a vanity project for Kilmer who now finds himself in a strange position as a performer unable to do what he loves and does best and while the film may disappoint some looking for a more stereotypical biographical documentary, there’s a grace, power and often immense sadness watching Kilmer’s past experiences and eye opening current circumstances (such as a Tombstone screening or Comic Con appearance) play out before our eyes.
Final Say –
Combining hours of first hand footage shot by the man himself and walking an honest and truthful line on what Kilmer’s current state of being is, Val is an eye opening account of not only a Hollywood star but a man whose dreams alluded him despite getting ever so close to the nirvana of being at the top.
4 Hollywood icons in a hammock out of 5