We often look to the titles of films to give us a bit of an insight as to what the plotline is actually going to be about. Therefore, when I was asked to review a film titled BOMB-IT 2, I was unsure what to expect. I thought perhaps a war film, or a political thriller, maybe, or even a TRUE LIES-esque action/comedy. But, I have to admit, my expectations weren’t that high, so you can imagine my surprise, and delight, to find a wonderfully vibrant and extremely well-honed documentary based on the subject of graffiti artistry from around the world.
Now, while I can’t say that the subject of street art/graffiti art really piques my interest, I do actually like a good documentary. By that I mean a documentary that gives me pause for thought; which I’m glad to say this one did. I’ll be honest here and say that, my views toward art and graffiti have always been slightly conservative, i.e. I simply considered it to be an outward sign of rebellion, and generally quite disrespectful and ugly.
This documentary made me reassess that viewpoint. After listening to the interviews of all the different artists, all of whom cite different reasons or provocations, for their art (political, religious, escapism, boredom, etc.), I came to a realization. They all share a common factor, in that none of them want to cause offense with what they paint, they simply want to share their art, with everyone, regardless of wealth or social stature.
The same can be said for most artists, I’m sure, and so in this sense I think the ethical appropriateness of graffiti will be brought into debate by this film – even if only privately and between family members. But even so, this is all for the better, someone once said to me, if a documentary doesn’t give you a topic for discussion, then it’s failed. The same can be said for all television, I know, but documentary in particular SHOULD give you pause for thought, whether that be because you agree with what’s being stated or otherwise.
For that reason I think it’s safe to say this film is a success, but what about the more technical side?
Locations first! I always love it when a film includes many different countries, simply because I love the majesty of foreign architecture! In this documentary I was slightly disappointed, therefore, that famous geographical locations weren’t included (par for in Hong Kong where some of the temples are briefly shown). However, this does leave room for us to explore a more suburban type of beauty that each country posses but which is, by and large, ignored by the media.
The direction too is excellent! I loved the seemingly endless supply of location stock footage shown. It would have been fairly easy to make this documentary boring and monotonous, with an endless list of street artists simply droning on about the motives behind their hobby, but with some good, well edited shots, a funky, urban soundtrack and an interesting and original topic, Jon Reiss managed to avoid this!
BOMB-IT 2 Review
Jon Reiss and his crew travel to Asia, Australia, the Middle East and beyond, exploring the local graffiti scenes and artists. Follow-up to the groundbreaking street art documentary "Bomb It".