Most documentaries about the making of a movie are purely promotional tools. Occasionally, you’ll run across a documentary such as Hearts of Darkness, which breaks all the boundaries and reveals something beyond the mundane techniques of the filmmaking process. Full Tilt Boogie lies somewhere in-between, more than just a long advertisement, but never quite as revealing as it could be.
Director Sarah Kelly takes us behind the scenes of the movie From Dusk Till Dawn. The 1996 criminals-on-run-meet-vampires movie united writer Quentin Tarantino with director Robert Rodriguez. They added actors George Clooney, Harvey Keitel, Juliette Lewis and Salma Hayek, and created a unique, if only moderately successful horror film.
Unlike the traditional promotional film, we not only hobnob with the “upper echelon” stars and director, but Full Tilt Boogie introduces us to the assistants, the grips, the peons…the people who get things done. But the film never gets too much past the introductions. We never really get to know these people.
There are times when the film seems to veer towards substance, such as when it documents the union disputes over the film. Rodriguez decided to film From Dusk till Dawn with a non-union cast, a decision which did not sit well with union leaders. Threats of strikes and boycotts raged on the periphery of the shoot. Full Tilt Boogie documents some of these, but merely skims the surface of the issues involved.
Fans of From Dusk Till Dawn may find parts of Full Tilt Boogie interesting. However, there’s just not enough here to recommend it to the general public.