In embracing the disorienting quality present in Frank’s work, 'Don’t Blink' is but an abstract portrait, muddled by a jarring messiness.
Stream Don't Blink: Robert Frank
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You leave with a vivid sense of the man’s living presence and a reasonably thorough account of his life, work and associations. Given the sheer volume and variety of the work in question, this is an impressive achievement.
Israel's willingness to honor Frank's own vision powers the film.
Like the work it illuminates, the doc feels formally impeccable yet utterly unstaged, a vivid distillation of a distinct and precious life.
Frank’s work is phenomenal, but his longtime editor and collaborator Laura Israel seems determined during the course of her documentary never to give you a moment long enough to contemplate it.
Although a bit too diffuse to fully realize its potential, the documentary is an evocative portrait of its subject.
Don’t Blink is the rare documentary both vague enough to whet your appetite and specific enough to imbue a sense of kinship with its subject, like an old friend from camp you haven’t seen in decades. Like Frank himself, the film chugs ever forward as an elaborate, chaotic, grumpy, optimistic mess.
Don’t Blink is a friendly film by a friend – honest and historically aware, but almost unfailingly affectionate and attuned to the “spontaneous intuition” that, 92 years after his birth, still seems the governing principle of Frank’s life.
Rather than being a film about an artist, it’s an attempt to show us what it's like to actually be an artist.
It’s a unique, associative blend of sounds and images that aims to convey details as well as underlying truths about Frank’s life. Unfortunately, it also often leaves one feeling aesthetically pummeled to the point of exhaustion.