By Daryl Bär.
As far as celebratory retrospectives of a director’s career this documentary really takes the cake. Boasting anecdotes and insight from the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Keanu Reeves, Julie Delpy and Jack Black, 21 Years paints a vivid image of one of cinema’s most respected independents.
Covering everything from Slacker to Before Midnight the conversations are kept jovial and reverential almost to a fault. It felt out of sorts to have such a backslapping and congratulatory film covering the career of such an outsider, as one would expect such an aggrandizing doc to be released toward the end of a filmmaker’s career.
The short animation sequences add quirk to the movie and there’s not an out-of-place interview throughout but one of the strangest omissions is the lack of any input from Linklater himself. While it’s great to reminisce with McConaughey and co. about the incredible Dazed & Confused, and it’s endearing to hear Ethan Hawke and Delpy discuss their motivations with the Before Trilogy, 21 Years: Richard Linklater never feels substantial or multi-faceted enough.
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