Film Review: Framing John DeLorean

Directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce’s Framing John DeLorean is a riveting documentary. The filmmakers exhibit adept storytelling, keeping viewers hooked throughout. 

Through interviews, archive footage, and reenactments, Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce tell the story of the rise and fall of American inventor and executive John DeLorean, who changed the automotive industry in the 20th century…

Framing John DeLorean is a clever title that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Firstly there is the issue of the number of film ideas which were never realised. Then there is the different sides to the protagonist. And finally, the title can be seen as a play on the famous court case that John was involved with. The filmmakers promise a big story with their opening gambit. And they deliver it with aplomb. The film should prove illuminating to both those accustomed to the story of DeLorean and those who merely know the name. 

Framing John DeLorean combines archive footage, interviews with those who knew him intimately, as well as a variety talking heads. It also includes dramatic reenactment. The film goes beyond interspersing archive footage with dramatic adaptation, pulling in opinion from even the actors themselves. Argott and Joyce make it clear that there are different interpretations of key incidents, as well as the man himself. 

The narrative runs in a mostly chronological form, giving a rise-and-fall tale which is most gripping. The filmmakers approach this from multiple directions, considering interviews from the time, and the thoughts of his colleagues and family members to draw their depiction. These various aspects are weaved together with great skill. Framing John DeLorean is edited well, lingering when necessary but never losing its pace. There is something authentic about the storytelling – that questions can be heard, and that actors give their input give the film a collaborative feel. 

Although there is some darkness to the story, there is a welcome sense of levity. Some aspects are humorous, and filmmakers promote this. Likewise, more somber reflection is treated with the seriousness it deserves. Performances by Alec Baldwin and Monica Baccarin are very good. Filmmakers situate viewers in the period we’ll, with both the reenactment footage and the use of clips. 

Framing John DeLorean is a great documentary. The superb storytelling and leaves viewers wanting more. 

Framing John DeLorean is available on Digital Download from 29th July 2019.

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