90 Mins(4 out of 5)
Reviewed by: Sam Hollis
In this decade-spanning documentary, director Luca Severi replicates the infectious energy and eccentric glamour of Hollywood through the lens of one of its most iconic photographers, Douglas Kirkland. As the title suggests, the film focuses on the passion one can develop for their craft, and the respect they can earn through precision and dedication.
If you don’t recognise the name, you’d certainly recognise the images. From a seductive linen-encased Marilyn Monroe to a red-leathered Michael Jackson leaving that movie theatre, Douglas Kirkland has eternalised show-business iconography across a storied 60-year career. That Click offers glimpses into the personality, taste, and motivation of a genius, as told by past clients – Nicole Kidman, Michelle Williams, Baz Luhrmann – and the man himself.
Upon introduction, Kirkland appears to be an unsung hero of Hollywood. Severi quickly clarifies that his praises are sung loudly, with great after great utterly beguiled by his skill, work ethic, and morals. Severi’s choice to accentuate these sides of Kirkland goes a long way to restoring any lost faith in the wonder of Hollywood. In a time when photoshoot horror stories with seedy photographers are finally coming to light, Kirkland’s practice proves the value of safety and consideration for one’s subjects; this is a man who turned down Marilyn Monroe, instructing her to seduce the camera rather than the photographer behind it.
“I wanted to get the snaps,” Kirkland says, “because that’s who Douglas Kirkland is.”
The quick-cut editing and upbeat soundtrack perfectly accompany Kirkland’s larger-than-life aura. His eccentricity could rival that of Austin Powers, although he is totally trustworthy. He is simply excited by the opportunity to make someone look their best.
That Click has focus, but it fails to weave its timespan together into a complete or well-paced narrative, instead feeling like a snapshot of an amazing life with entertaining anecdotes to carry us along. Still, the second the credits rolled I was compelled to pick up a book of Kirkland’s photography, which perhaps says more about the film than anything I could write here.