Legacy Review

Zelig (1983)

As a technical exercise, this is truly astonishing: Allen, aided by Gordon Willis’s masterful camerawork, blends himself into fake and real archival footage seamlessly. The sound, the look, and the tone are all masterful mockumentary.

The movie’s poignancy snuck up on me. Portions of the film kept me at a distance given its bravura, restless presentation. But by the time I realized it’s just a romantic comedy with lots of window dressing, I was on board and excited to see where it would go. (And boy does it go places… there’s one shot staged during a key pre-WW2 event that left my jaw hanging open.)

This is a film about forming and changing identities in modern America, of course. But it’s also very much an introspective movie: Allen uses a mockumentary gimmick to reckon with his many on-screen personas and the many ways he uses cinema to tell his story.

Is It Good?

Very Good (6/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.

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