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This documentary is certainly one-of-a-kind, but is its cinematic quality as intriguing as its premise....?
Docurama / 104 Minutes / 2012 / Unrated / Street Date: April 16, 2013
It was an idea that was bound to become cinematic. Now that cellular phones have moving image cameras that are better than most DV camcorders of yore, why not have everybody capture some footage of what their world looks like and then cobble together this material into one film? Director Kyle Ruddick – on 10/10/2010 – got an ocean of folks in countries literally across the globe to film interesting events, then he and his team culled through more than three thousand hours of material to whittle down to a feature-length film.
At first, One Day on Earth is irresistible: if anything, Ruddick’s concept allows viewers – from the comfort of their living room couches – to get a vantage point on the world that honestly might never have been available before. Yet while the movie’s ‘we’re all in this together’ narrative motif remains fascinating in an anthropological sense, after a few minutes, the staccato jumpiness of the movie starts to wear thin. Ruddick may have succeeded in throwing his net wide in terms of finding a cross-section of participants, but (unsurprisingly) there’s no real through-line here.
Maybe that’s the point. I mean, why would there be any significant uniformity to off-the-cuff filmmaking from contributors this multi-faceted? One Day on Earth is the kind of experimental documentary that gains a lot of traction in terms of internet buzz – again, its concept is ingenious – but the act of actually sitting through its nearly two-hour running time is difficult. It’s a movie that succeeds more in terms of sparking conversation than connecting in a purely cinematic capacity.