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"Side By Side" Review

Everyone divides up on everything all the time: Coke vs. Pepsi; Fender vs. Gibson; Star Wars vs. Star Trek; so it's no different that there is a divide amongst filmmakers over film vs. digital. It's this technological advance and the benefits and deficiencies of both formats that are explored by the documentary Side By Side.

Keanu Reeves(!) conducts interviews with a parade of directors including George Lucas, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh, David Fincher, Martin Scorsese, Robert Rodriguez, the Wachowski Starship, as well as numerous cinematographers about their preferences for one over the other and how some have changed with the times while others will have to have celluloid pried out of their cold dead hands.

Combining a good primer of how movies are "filmed" with interviewees expressing themselves about what it all means, Side By Side takes a refreshingly unbiased approach toward the subject rather than trying to skew the audience toward a preferred conclusion. If there is a bias, it's that the flexibility of digital tools to execute the filmmaker's vision makes for a bigger box of crayons to color with. When you see the differences in color timing and correction between the old photochemical process and something like Da Vinci Resolve (see reel below), it's hard to defend to archaic ways. (No one with Blu-ray is pining for VHS, you know?) I think holdouts like Nolan are like people who insist vinyl is better.

Score: 8/10. Rent it. If you've got Amazon Prime, it's streaming for free; see link below.


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