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Sam Klemke’s Time Machine DVD Review

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“Sam Klemke’s Time Machine” is a rich documentary.

From the director (Matthew Bate) of the underrated documentary “Shut Up Little Man! An Audio Adventure” comes another rewarding new documentary titled “Sam Klemke’s Time Machine.” This one revolves around the titular Sam Klemke who has documented his life every year starting way back in 1977. Through these introspective videos, we see Klemke capture time, his growth (or lack thereof), the changes and struggles in his life, major yearly events, his creative ventures, and the relationships he formed (or ended). While his life unfolds, director Matthew Bate parallels a story about the Voyager’s journey in space (which was coincidentally launched the same year Klemke started his documentations).

Much like the incredible “Up” documentary series, “Sam Klemke’s Time Machine” is an experimental, insightful, and deep look at the evolution of one man who is trying to find his own place in the world. While his journey is often quirky and inspiring, it’s also quite tragic at times. Like with just about anyone in the world, Klemke’s life doesn’t pan out how he would like as his hopes and dreams are essentially shattered at certain points. It’s tough to see that to be sure, but it’s quite fascinating to see that this project of his would be the thing that would change his life for the better. In fact, the making of this film is even touched upon in the film which is both meta and neat.

If the film has one drawback it’s that the stylized direction is a bit distracting. While purposeful and eventually poignant in the end, the artsy and metaphorical space angle really distracts from Klemke’s own story. I get that Bate wanted to put his own directorial stamp on the project, but Klemke’s story stands on its own and is, in fact, what makes the film work from an emotional standpoint. Ultimately, however, that part of the film doesn’t hamper what is an otherwise stand-out documentary.


Presentation: Widescreen. How does it look? The film obviously varies in quality given the numerous years of footage and the different types of technology that were used to record Sam’s adventures.

Audio Track: 5.1 Surround. How does it sound? In a word, solid.

* “Sam Goes To Sundance”- Sam documents his trip to the Sundance Film Festival.
* “Well Hello There, Mr. Klemke!” and “Wake Up Out There!”- Clever videos of Sam talking to himself in the past.
* “Start Respectin’ Yourself” and “Warm Bacon Dressing,”- Deleted scenes.
* “The Life Selfie”- Sam Klemke talks to YouTube viral star Noah best known for his time lapse portrait video.
* “Two Time Travellers Talking Turkey”- Sam talks to YouTuber Jeremiah who made a video in which he talks to his past self.

March 22, 2016 - Posted by | DVD review |

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