Penny Lane, director of “Our Nixon,” is back with another scathingly satirical collection of film clips. The subject this time: Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, who built a financial empire on the claim that he could cure impotence. Rated 3 stars out of 4.
The word “documentary” applies to a wider range of films than ever.
Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” broke the mold for political documentaries. Earlier this month, New Zealand’s “Tickled” used thriller techniques to tell an absurd nonfiction story. Also new is Alex Gibney’s “Zero Days” — as urgent a wake-up call as anything the prolific Gibney has done.
In “Our Nixon,” released three years ago, filmmaker Penny Lane deftly used clips of President Nixon’s home movies and grotesque one-liners to mount a scathing indictment of Nixon’s White House years.
Movie Review ★★★
‘NUTS!,’ a documentary directed by Penny Lane, from a script by Thom Stylinski. 77 minutes. No rating; suitable for mature audiences. SIFF Film Center
Now she’s turned her cameras on a less famous celebrity in “NUTS!,” the improbable story of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley, who built a 1930s financial empire on the claim that he could cure impotence — by surgically implanting goat testicles into a farmer’s scrotum.
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“NUTS!” starts out as one kind of character study and turns into a very different one. The gullible believe in miracles, fortunes are built and lost, and an entire generation is deliberately misled.
The tone is cheeky. The editing, which won a prize at the Sundance Film Festival, is a knockout.