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Monday, September 13, 2021

Val 2021 * * * Stars


In 2021's Val, "Val" refers to chameleon-like actor Val Kilmer. Val killed it in movies like Top Gun, The Doors, and Heat. In Val he's so in love with holding a camera you wonder why he hasn't become a director himself. This documentary perhaps is the closest thing to him doing that (even though Val was ultimately helmed by filmmakers Ting Poo and Leo Scott).

So yeah, Val is a docu that spans the career of Val Kilmer through archived footage and present day footage. Unable to talk because of his bout with throat cancer, Val is narrated by Kilmer's son Jack (also an actor). What's neat is that Jack sounds just like his pops did in the 1990s. And Kilmer for my money, had one of the greatest acting voices of all time (next to Russell Crowe and Al Pacino).

Val is fascinating, dissipated, and sort of surreal. Is it a four star affair? Not quite. Is it the movie Kid 90 wished it could've been? Oh absolutely. Kid 90 was about the life of Soleil Moon Frye. You know the girl from Punky Brewster. Where Val succeeds Kid 90 is that it's more profound and has more of an anchor (perhaps because Kilmer reached higher bouts of stardom). Kilmer is an interesting and pretty eclectic dude. In the world of acting, he might have been difficult on set but the guy is all passion and heart.

In truth, Val might come off to some viewers as a little pretentious, a little vanity-stricken, and self-serving. And at 109 minutes, the flick tends to go on and on until ending abruptly (kind of like an Oliver Stone pic hint, hint). Still, Val is well-made from a technical standpoint and paints Kilmer as a sympathetic figure who still deserves to hug a little spotlight. In the words of Val Kilmer's Jim Morrison, "this is the strangest life I've ever known". No matter. It's been a good life Val so keep on truckin' bro.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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