I am a huge fan of Keanu Reeves and I am starting to think there is is not a lot that he can’t do. Side by Side (2012) is a documentary film directed by Christopher Kenneally. The film follows Keanu around as he interviews an array of directors, actors, and film enthusiasts. Each interview reveals their preference and gives an insight to the techniques and opinions of each filmmaker. Each interviewee is asked a variety of questions relating to which medium they prefer – film stock or digital.
A majority of the film is shot as a face to face interview between Keanu Reeves – as the interviewer – and an industry professional as the interviewee. One of the techniques I appreciated as a viewer was the incorporation of an animation explanation of the camera technology. Due to the frequent use of film industry jargon, whether it be technical terminology or colloquialisms, Kenneally cleverly includes diagrams in between interviews to educate and enlighten the viewer.
Keanu reeves is a co-producer for Side by Side and although he was heavily involved in the film right from its very inception, I believe it was a very wise decision to cast him as the interviewer. Feature films and high concept films will often spend a lot of time and resources securing celebrity ‘big name’ actors; in order to ensure box office ratings and revenue. However, for documentaries, I think that particular interviews are more believable when the host has a well rounded knowledge base with the interview topic. The star power of Keanu Reeves was a major influence for me personally as a viewer. But I did feel as though the people he interviewed seemed to enjoy being in his company. I do not think that the interview would have quite same aesthetic if it were hosted by a different interviewer.