McCullin

"Excellent"

McCullin Review


Don't let the nondescript title put you off: this riveting, beautifully made film documents a lost species, a photojournalist who always sought the true, personal core of a story, regardless of what editors, politicians or readers wanted. Frankly it's difficult to imagine such a thing today, when newspapers pander so much to advertisers. But Don McCullin's images still speak loudly, as they reveal the intimate, sympathetic reality of wars, humanitarian crises and even our own culture.

Based in London, McCullin spent most of his career working for The Observer and The Sunday Times in the 1960s and 70s, when magazine supplements featured his striking images of momentous events. These included political scenes in Berlin, starvation in Biafra and wars from Vietnam to Congo to Beirut. In each case, McCullin's photos lock in on individual experiences, revealing the horrors in ways we can vividly feel ourselves. But he never manipulated an image to heighten its effect, refused to take inappropriate pictures and got involved in dangerous situations when other journalists ran away.

Filmmakers David and Jacqui Morris tell McCullin's story cleverly, setting up each assignment with descriptive newsreel footage, then letting his personal observations and fascinating anecdotes carry us through until we see a collection of the staggeringly moving images he shot, often accompanied with details about how they came to be. Most of these are photographs of victims or survivors, so they have a wrenching emotional quality. This view of resilient humanity is incredibly powerful, which makes it all the more upsetting when new editors cave in to pressure from advertisers and governments to keep the images more "reader-friendly". Rupert Murdoch's acquisition of The Times in 1981 essentially marked the end of this kind of journalism.

True journalists will find the quality of McCullin's photographs exhilarating. And far from taking a nostalgic look at a kind of work that has been lost forever, this is an affirming celebration of one man's refusal to sell-out. The film also includes vintage interviews McCullin made back throughout his career, as well as his remarkable shots of London life over the years. And in the end we see McCullin's quiet life today photographing the English countryside, but clearly haunted by his experiences. And we will never look at a news photo quite the same again.

Rich Cline



McCullin

Facts and Figures

Genre: Documentaries

In Theaters: Tuesday 1st January 2013

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 14

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: David Morris, Jacqui Morris

Producer: Jacqui Morris

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.