Sketches of Frank Gehry Sydney Pollack

What lunatic decided that the king of eccentric architecture should be documented by the knave of safe Hollywood pap? Incredibly, it was Frank Gehry himself who decreed that close friend Sydney Pollack should helm the film about his life and work, apparently spurred on by the director’s lack of architectural knowledge! I can’t say for sure if the architect was fishing for a sycophant but the results are predictable: a lot of talk of "being different” and "pushing the edge of the envelope” while failing completely to give an articulate portrait of the whys and wherefores of his architectural brilliance. Though he offers one lonely individual who dares to say no to the monumental weirdness of Gehry’s designs, mostly it’s a big love-in for the man and his difficult rise to fame and prominence. I rather like the man’s work but that doesn’t mean that the matter should rest with movie executive patrons like Barry Diller and Michael Eisner, or vulgar artist blowhard Julian Schnabel. In fact, the film unwittingly exposes the rich man’s sport of deciding who gets to design a building — anyone who believes in the unfettered nature of genius should watch this movie to let the air out of their naiveté. As an intro to his life and uphill career climb, the movie does okay but at 83 minutes it’s way too short to do the job as a serious discussion of architectural issues and Gehry’s place within the historical record. Though his defiance of the modernist austerity of the International Style and Bauhaus is duly noted, one cries out for a little context that could illuminate something beyond the obvious statement that Gehry sure is wacky. The only extra: an interview with Pollack that cements his reputation for delivering well-meaning mediocrity. (Sony)