Bart Layton (shown at left) appears to have chosen the relatively new and increasingly traveled road taken by more and more movie documentarians: combining in some form both documentary and narrative. You can achieve this via the ever-popular "re-enactment," as James Marsh is apt to do; or the strange and lovely fantasy/dreamscape/reality combo used by Alma Har'el in Bombay Beach; or any number of shake-ups that can be grafted onto the form of the modern documentary. Layton, if I am interpreting his approach correctly, has tried to stick entirely to the facts, as known -- or to the best-guess speculation -- then hired actors to play the major roles, mouthing dialog that the real people might have spoken, and then filmed all of this in the style of a documentary. In a sense this is in some ways close to the old- (and new-) fashioned doc-style drama based on fact -- from I Want to Live to Boys Don't Cry. The difference is that Layton has filmed his tale so much in the affectless, documentary style that you could swear you were watching the real people simply behaving as best they can in front of the camera. Nice trick!
Landmark Sunshine Cinema, where the filmmaker will appear in person tonight at the 7pm and 9:40 screenings. It begins its nationwide, limited release in 15 other cities next month. You can find all currently scheduled playdates here.