The land of the free and the home of the brave.
The land of opportunity.
All men are created equal.
In the case of the American and the America portrayed in this stunningly original biopic there was precious little opportunity, even less freedom, equality was questionable and the only bravery on display was from him.
Ladies and gentlemen...Bill Hicks.
Stand up comedian, visionary, prophet and the most aggressively honest man on earth?
If you’re reading this in Britain then you probably agree with all of that...if you’re reading this in the USA then you may well be asking; “Who the hell is Bill Hicks and why has anyone made a film about him?” The answer to that lies in the fact that Hicks was the most dazzling, energetic, witty, insightful and devastating performers of his day...and of anyone elses day.
Having waded through hundreds of hours of footage of Hicks (much of it previously unseen), 1500 photographs from family and friends and even more hours of their own footage of interviews with friends and family the directors have produced a film that bares no resemblance to any other biopic you will have seen. Using a fabulously inventive animation technique and mixing it at appropriate points with Hicks performing you are given a truly intimate look at a man who was driven by a desire to reach out to as many people as possible with his ideas. Don’t think for a minute that because he was a comedian that there is anything throw-away about what he has to say.
By shying away from hagiography and sychophancy “American” manages to tell a deeply emotional story and to take a genre in a new direction...no mean feat. Hicks was an original, a one off and a warm human being...this films greatest success is in replicating all of those qualities.