// you’re reading...


American – The Bill Hicks Story review

by Andy Gibbons

What is it?

A documentary charting the short but eventful life of the man dubbed the comedian’s comedian and whose acerbic observations and impassioned rants helped change the face of stand-up.

Filmmakers Matt Harlock and Paul Thomas follow Bill’s life from his early days growing up in Houston to his final weeks as he took to the stage for the last time as cancer took hold. Using a mix of old photos, Hicks family videos and footage of Bill’s performances, we are offered an insight into the mind of a man whose impact on the world of comedy is hard to exaggerate.


What’s good?

Harlock and Thomas have created an unusual documentary style by relying less on ‘to camera’ interviews and instead getting creative with photos and old video footage to illustrate their points while Bill’s closest friends and family discuss his life. It’s obvious that Hicks’ life was a fascinating journey and most aspects are covered here including his unpredictable relationships with drugs and alcohol.

What’s bad?

It’s a little hard to convey the power and imagination of Hicks’ routines just by showing selected sound bites and a few notable incidents, including his notorious falling out with fellow comedian Denis Leary, have been completely omitted.

So basically…..

Fans of Hicks will need little excuse to go see American – The Bill Hicks Story. However they shouldn’t expect to see too much new live footage, instead the movie offers an intimate look at the man who was just starting to find his place in the world and hit his stride when he died. You’re certainly left wondering what Bill could have achieved had he not been struck down at such a young age? Those less familiar with Hicks will certainly learn a lot about the tough life comedians lead but they might be better off watching some of his live shows such as Totally or One Night Stand to understand the man better.




No comments for “American – The Bill Hicks Story review”

Post a comment