‘Val’ Documentary Review

Val‘ is an Amazon Studios documentary that follows the life of actor Val Kilmer. It is directed by Leo Scott and Ting Poo and narrated by Jack Kilmer, son of Val.

The story follows Val Kilmer who just went through a terrible ordeal with throat cancer that left his voice totally destroyed. Using archival footage that Kilmer has been keeping his whole life, we see behind-the-scenes from some of his most famous films. We see his original audition for The Doors, where Val Kilmer played frontman Jim Morrison and he explains how this movie affected his marriage and home life. He also touches on the controversy surrounding The Island of Dr. Moreau, how he was cast in Batman Forever, and, of course, Tombstone. It is also interspersed with conversations about his childhood, thoughts on filmmaking, being a father, his play about Mark Twain, and how cancer has affected his life.

I have seen a ton of documentaries about various celebrities. The majority of them make me roll my eyes and gag about how they could ever got famous. This was not the case for this documentary. Val Kilmer is open about his failings, takes responsibility for his mistakes, and gives his honest thoughts about where he thinks he went wrong. He does defend himself from the whole “Val Kilmer is difficult” rumor and I think he does a good job.

As for the aesthetics, it is well shot and looks candid. The archival footage was incredibly revealing and it holds nothing back about Kilmer. I also think that Jack Kilmer was an excellent narrator and did a good job by his father. I particularly enjoyed their conversations speaking to each other, especially when his daughter joins in.

Bottom line, Val is probably the best documentary I have seen this year. It delivers an excellent look behind-the-scenes in the life of Val Kilmer and tells it in an open way.

Check out the trailer below:

PARENTAL CONCERNS: Some foul language, Disturbing topics, Thematic elements, Some nudity

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my documentary reviews of The Lovers and the Despot and Sophie: A Murder In West Cork. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.

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