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Scandal-plagued John DeLorean is show in archival footage in the documentary Framing John DeLorean.

IFC Films

  • Framing John DeLorean
  • Directed by: Don Argott and Sheena Joyce
  • Written by: Dan Greeney and Alexandra Orton
  • Starring: Alec Baldwin, Morena Baccarin and Josh Charles
  • Classification: 14A; 101 minutes
  • Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

At several points during Framing John DeLorean, characters pause to wonder aloud why no one has ever before made a film about the life and times of the controversial car designer. “Still to this day,” one talking head says, “not one has been made yet.”

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Well, that’s just not true – Nick Hamm’s Driven, starring Lee Pace as the scandal-plagued DeLorean, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Then again, Framing John DeLorean is a film that delights in stretching the truth, so maybe its constant ignorance of Hamm’s work is just part of its whole meta-narrative shtick. That’s the explanation I’m choosing to go with at least, as the rest of Don Argott and Sheena Joyce’s quasi-doc is so relentlessly engaging.

Blending archival footage of the real DeLorean with re-enactments starring Alec Baldwin (who also takes time to psychoanalyze his character directly to the screen), the production is an ambitious and inventive spin on a familiar documentary formula. Even though the straight facts of DeLorean’s life could fuel a thoroughly entertaining biopic on their own – not only did the man flush away a career at General Motors for a stylish automobile daydream, he also walked himself straight into a cocaine-trafficking scandal, not to mention a Back to the Future-certified legacy – Argott and Joyce’s decision to torque reality adds a delightfully unpredictable boost to the proceedings. So much so that you won’t be able to wait to learn more about DeLorean. But since Framing John DeLorean doesn’t mention it, I will: Driven is scheduled for release later this August.

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Framing John DeLorean opens June 7.

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