The Great Buster: A Celebration 4.0 stars

Great Buster: A Celebration movie poster

When it comes to pure visual comedy, there is no greater director than Buster Keaton. The guy literally broke his back to make audiences laugh. Without the aid of a shooting script, Keaton labored on film much the same way an illustrator would on a sketchpad. The resourceful Buster instinctively knew where to place his camera so as to maximize gag potential. He also had an uncanny knack of knowing exactly where his body was in relation to everything else in the frame. Buster frequently brought along surveyor’s instruments to ensure that his lens wasn’t off by even an inch or two. (That kind of precision is important when one of your most famous gags involves a building collapsing all around you.) Most documentaries of this type follow a career in chronological order, dutifully inserting clips along the way. Peter Bogdanovich instead presents an hour or so of biographical material and a smattering of clips, saving the big guns for the last third of the picture. For those unfamiliar with either director, prepare to fall in love. 2018.

Scott Marks

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