For as long as I can remember, I’ve looked up to Kevin Smith.
Not because he’s some Oscar-winning scribe or hugely successful director, but because, in the immortal words of Sinatra, he did it his way.
His scrappy, $27,000 film about convenience store workers made while he was a convenience store worker became an indie darling, and nabbed Smith the best reviews of his entire career. Clerk spoke to the downtrodden, minimum wage workers of the 1990s in a way nothing else had.
It’s a brilliant film, but for every Clerks is a Jersey Girl or Tusk. Smith doesn’t always hit it out of the park, but he can always be relied on for one thing – He makes movies that mean something to him, and he makes them on his time.
Now, this wonderful little documentary – affectionately titled Clerk – explores Smith, his personal life, and the 25-year career he’s enjoyed so far. It explores the high and the lows, and puts the charismatic Smith front and centre, exactly where he deserves to be.
It’s no surprise that director Malcolm Ingram – who has podcasted and worked with Smith for more than a decade – creates a really affectionate portrayal of a man who’s ingrained in geek culture.
One thing I love about this documentary is that it focuses on all facets of Smith – from his love of comics and contributions to Marvel to his podcasting, speaker series and more – and I learned so much about him.
I do, however, wish there was a bit more edge here. Smith has had some major career misfires, and I felt like they were glossed over rather quickly in service of a simpler narrative.
That said, Clerk is an interesting study of an even more entertaining subject, even if it does pull its punches too often.