11/16/2020

Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on "The Exorcist" (Review)

Title: Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on "The Exorcist"
Writer/ Director: Alexandre O. Philippe 
Cast: William Friedkin
Min: 104
Year: 2019

Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on "The Exorcist" is a magnificent documentary on one of the greatest films, horror or otherwise, ever made. It is solely driven and centered on the legendary director's words. And, what words they are! This in-depth talk covers practically every aspect on the movie you could ever ask for and more. 

Of course, his youth is explored, if in quick detail, as he talks about growing up with his mother and father in Chicago, Illinois. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite moments is when he discusses about his love and desire to work in film. Fate, he says, plays such an important role in everything, movies and life, included, for him. But, the main focus is, of course, on the movie in the docu's subtitle. And, that is what vast majority of this film is about. 

The documentary opens up with Friedkin talking about the only film that influenced him when making The Exorcist, Danish drama movie Ordet. A various points in the discussion, he goes back to this film and as well as mentioning other aspects that influenced him, like art and music. The later discussion ends up leading into a great story involving Bernard Herman and a possible score for the The Exorcist.

One of my favorite parts, of what are many fascinating moments, is when his talks about the script by William Peter Blatty, who, of course based it, on his own book. Another highlight, is when he discusses casting and the film's cast like Max (Father Merin) Von Sydow's lack of faith or the wonderful stories that he has about Mercedes (Regan's demonic voice) McCambridge. 

As a both a student of film and devoted fan of The Exorcist, I was also deeply fascinated by his discussion of the more technical aspects of making this classic. For example, he talks in great detail about the film's opening, including its meanings, shots, reasons for, mood, foreshadowing, and more. It is just as interesting, if not more so, to hear about shots and moments that he didn't plan out and just happened. On top of all this, he brings up aspects related to the movie, that I have either never thought about before, ones that I have had, and others I may have, but never fully realized that I did. He even goes into what he sees as flaws in the film's ending. For a life long long fan of The Exorcist, such as myself, this is all profoundly and deeply intriguing.  

Throughout the documentary, Friedkin remains a fascinating person, one who is profoundly intelligent, never boring, and always captivating to hear. In many ways, this feels like the film theory and tech class that I which I had taken when I was in college. Equally engrossing are his profoundly deep talks about his beliefs. And, without saying anything in detail, the docu ends on a truly beautiful note, making this a wholly unforgettable viewing experience. 

Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on "The Exorcist" is a magnificent and profound talk with William Friekin. What he says and talks about here is fascinating, deep, and thought provoking. He covers faith, the movie's themes, and his techniques in the film. He is an intelligent and well spoken master of his field, and by the end of this film, I had gained even more respect and admiration for him. This is a must see for those who admire his work, in particular those of us who love and are fascinated by The Exorcist, or simply those interested in filmmaking and film theory, in general. You will be able to view it for yourself, when the documentary makes its debut and begins to stream on Shudder this Thursday, November 19, 2020.


4 out of 4 

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