Sunday, 18 August 2013

Film Review: SIDE BY SIDE (2012)

Side by Side - poster Writer/Director: Christopher Kenneally
Running time: 99 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Documentary
UK Release date: 15th February 2013

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 18th August 2013.


I have wanted to see this one since a certain Mark Kermode waxed lyrical about it on his radio show several months ago. I knew it would never show at my local cinema and so I was resigned to seeing it on TV. Fortunately those enlightened people at Film4 decided to put it on their channel this week and so I happily watched it this morning.

Side by Side - 5 The film is hosted by Keanu Reeves who is seen conducting all of the interviews and looks genuinely interested in the subject. We are taken through the history of filmmaking, from its early beginnings and right up to the digital technology of today. A lot is made of the effects the leaps in technology have had and the repercussions for the future of the industry are discussed. Along with many directors like; Danny Boyle, James Cameron, Lena Dunham, David Fincher, George Lucas, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Robert Rodriguez, Joel Schumacher, Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh, amongst others; he also talks to many of the other people involved in the process; cinematographers, directors of photography, editors and the like. Although no real conclusions are drawn I found it well balanced with both sides of the argument being well covered. The argument? I hear you ask. Well at the beginning the question is posed as to whether the digital technology of today has brought about an end to movies being shot on 35mm film.

Side by Side - 4 The film goes in to quite a lot of technical detail about the technology of filmmaking; most was easy to follow, but I can see how it might put a few off. Some very interesting questions are posed; particularly revealing are the comments on the fad for 3D; something the studios seem to love at the moment. The music wasn’t all it might have been as well; it sounded a little like I was watching an 80’s infomercial about a film camera company at times. A well balanced piece although I did find it was beginning to drag a little towards the end. Still, well worth a look for any fan of the movies, I can’t see it having a much broader appeal though. On a personal note; I don’t really care what technology is used to make a film; to me the important thing is the story. Without a well scripted story, to my mind at least, there’s no point in even starting.

SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED

My score: 8.2/10.

IMDb Score: 7.6/10 (based on 5,574 votes when this review was written).

MetaScore: 82/100: (Based on 20 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Side by Side - 2 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 95/100 (based on 64 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 86/100 (based on 7,024 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Side by Side - 6 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

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