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engaging…entertaining…nary a dull moment…
Max Good’s film touches on larger issues around free expression and blight while focusing on three individuals who’ve taken their opposition toward taggers to extremes that could be argued as unhealthy, unaesthetic, and/or unlawful. Engaging docu , in which the filmmakers themselves sometimes play a part…
Even Hollywood can’t cook up this kind of irony. A new kind of graffiti has cropped up around town — advertising, of all things, a film about people who erase graffiti.
[W]hat makes “Vigilante Vigilante” successful isn’t Good and producer Nathan Wollman’s attempt to preach. It’s their willingness to listen to their subjects, occasionally confronting them but also creating a dialogue and exploring different views. Just 86 minutes long with several profile subjects, the film never lacks context.
At the end of Vigilante, Vigilante, Good implicitly asks the audience whether graffiti causes crime or is the symptom of an economic and criminal justice system so perverted by “political donations” and the corporate hijacking of media that the public is no longer able to distinguish between crimes against quality-of-life and crimes against humanity.
Good is good at catching out these hitherto anonymous men in New Orleans, L.A., and Berkeley, and although he evidently hates what they do, their DIY spirit mellows even him, and by the end of this worthy film he allows them a grudging respect.
Eschewing any pretense of objectivity and adopting a civic-journalism approach, Bay Area director Max Good and producer Nathan Wollman exhaustively explore the issues at stake in the current graffiti and street art scene by focusing on some unexpected, once-hidden antagonists: the so-called buffers…
Screen titles such as “Confrontation, day 38” suggest the stew of obsession, passive-aggression and half-accidental humor that gives the film its weird power. And some moments are impressively epigrammatic, like that quick shot of the “Eat More Quinoa!” tag on the wall of the Pro Lube Drive Thru Oil Change: a class war summed up in one simple, personless image.
A companion piece to Matt McCormick’s tongue-in-cheek The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal, Vigilante is a kinetic, hysterical and captivating film contrasting those who create elaborate street art and the “buffers” who seek to eliminate the blight.
Documentarian Stakes Out Anti-Graffiti Vigilantes
Turnstyle News interview with director Max Good
Dispatches from the graffiti wars
Interview with the filmmakers by David Lamble
The documentary chronicles Good and Wollman’s entire adventure, from bumbling stakeouts at 4 a.m. on the streets of Berkeley, to discovering the true identity of the Silver Buff – a resident of the Berkeley Hills named Jim Sharp.
SF Weekly: “Seven Brainy Movies for the Summer” May 2011
Street justice, albeit without life-and-death stakes, propels Max Good and Nathan Wollman’s kinetic Vigilante Vigilante (rumored to open in mid-August at the Roxie).
Good’s ‘Vigilante’ Tags Graffiti Showdown
SF360, Published by the San Francisco Film Society, 2011
“It’s a next-generation film; instead of making the case that graffiti is an art form deserving respect
( which several docs have already done ), they are advancing the question of who the commons
-Michael Fox, 3/30/11, SF360