Review: ‘Sr.’ pairs the Robert Downeys in tender tribute to avant-garde filmmaker of the 20th century
The following review has been provided courtesy of the Reviewing Project’s blog, which has been run by Film Comment Editor-in-Chief David Edelstein since 2010.
After a long night in a hotel bar, in which a drunk friend rants about director Robert Downey Jr. and, in response, Downey Jr. rants about how his dad never liked him, my friends and I got into more of the same for the better part of two hours. While we’d debated the relative merits of Downey Jr.’s films — I had always considered any of them worthy of debate, since they’re all just a lot of fun — we’d also discussed other things, such as Downey Jr.’s love of music, his affinity for the British invasion, how much he cares for his parents, and whether Downey Jr.’s films are a little too soft-focused for my taste.
As of early this week, however, that has all changed. For the first time, I’m being forced to acknowledge that Downey Jr.’s new film, Robert Downeys Sr., turns out to be an interesting and enjoyable movie, which is really more the point.
“Robert Downey Sr.” is not the first of Downey Jr.’s films that takes on the subject of his father’s death. “Jailbait” (1989) tells the story of a man whose father — a man who once worked in the same high school as Downey Jr. — had been gunned down by a crazed gang. It’s a story that’s obviously as much about the father as it is about the son. “Jailbait” was originally made as a feature by Downey Jr.