Thursday, October 31, 2013

When I Walk

[Jason DaSilva, filmmaker and subject, of When I Walk at the Taj Mahal]
I had never heard of this movie until the morning of the day I saw it. I read a few reviews, mostly glowing (the words "moving" was used a lot) and it seemed like it would be an interesting documentary since the subject (Jason DaSilva) was also the filmmaker. But I think that's where he went wrong.

Quick synopsis: Jason is a 25-year-old filmmaker living in NYC who is diagnosed with primary-progressive multiple sclerosis. He decides, as a filmmaker, that he might as well make a movie about this.

But what "this" is, I'm not sure. And I don't think Jason does either. Throughout the film he touches on a few key ideas - the possibility of not finding love post-diagnosis, how his family will deal with his having MS, not being able to continue making art, NYC not being very handicap accessible, or a very contrived scene in India where he shuffles past a line of staring men with his walker, but he doesn't really expand on any those ideas beyond those scenes, emotionally or story wise, he just...mentions them. At times I felt more connected to his wife (spoiler alert?) and mother because they were not concerned about this film but about real life, about Jason.

He travels the world, searching for "out of the box" type of treatments. From yoga, meditation and more in India to a trip to Lourdes, courtesy of his religious grandmother, for a miracle, to visiting his 88-year-old grandfather, hoping maybe he could at least get some answers from his family's history. But he only spends a small amount of time on each of these experiences and never really tells the audience how these have effected them except for that these events did not help his MS.

Later in the film, he does mention an app he created that shows a map of handicap accessible establishments in NYC, but only spends about a minute or two talking about it, I don't even remember him mentioning the name of the app. Did it ever launch? Was it not successful? Who are these people working on his team? How long did it take to create? The audience will never know because he doesn't tell us.

Jason, the filmmaker, gets in the way of Jason, the subject. He seems more concerned about getting the perfect shot than telling his story. Which is a bummer, because there seemed to be about a dozen or more great films that could have been made from this one ok film. But hey, this guy completed a feature length documentary while living with MS and I can barely get myself to make content for this blog.

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