Jeremy Thomas is a producer who has worked with truly legendary filmmakers, undeniably leaving his mark on film history. The film follows Thomas as he prepares to see his latest film, Takashi Miike’s First Love (2019), debut at the Cannes Film Festival. Each year the producer takes a five-day road trip driving to the international film festival in France, and for this particularly journey he is joined by filmmaker Mark Cousins. In promotion for the film, Cousins is referred to as an “acclaimed filmmaker.” This may be true, but it is hard to see in the home movie road trip footage he filmed for this documentary. Everything feels thrown together, almost as an afterthought to the journey itself.
Part of the problem is that this ultimately feels like a puff piece, with the filmmaker far too close to his subject, which results in a lack of objectivity. Through every interview and edited moment of supposedly natural behavior from the filmmaker, even though he is clearly always aware of the camera observing him, The Storms of Jeremy Thomas feels contrived and unrevealing. I have no doubt that Thomas is an engaging and compelling human being, but this documentary does a poor job of revealing that.
Instead of taking a traditional approach to telling Thomas’s story and background in the film industry, Cousins jumps around and splits the sections of the film up in themes he sees as relevant. Unfortunately, this approach just comes off as pretentious, like watching someone’s cold dissertation about the work of a filmmaker, despite having the unique opportunity to see spend intimate time with him. In short, while the premise of the film seems to set up an intimate portrayal of a filmmaker’s humanity, instead it becomes a pretentious examination of the purpose of cinematic art. While this may be compelling to some, I couldn’t help but feel it was a missed opportunity.
The DVD release for The Storms of Jeremy Thomas has no special features, aside from optional English subtitles.
Entertainment Value: 4/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Special Features: 0/10