28 September 2007 | Movie-Jay
Turns into a startlingly fascinating character study.
This movie proves two things: 1), a documentary really can be about anything, and 2), movies aren't always what they're about, but how they are about, as Ebert puts it. This movie begins by retracing the early video game craze of the early 80's, and it focuses on the 20 year plus record-holder of the highest score ever for 'Donkey Kong'. His name is Billy Mitchell, and he's the Michael Jackson or the Wayne Gretzky of the video gaming world. We learn of other players who helped to define the era, one who no longer plays but gives much of his time away by refereeing video game competitions. Perhaps all that would've made for an interesting doc in it's own right, but in walks Steve Wiebe, a pretty normal guy with a wife and two kids, and we learn how he got into video gaming after a handful of setbacks in his life. As it becomes clear to us that Wiebe is an amazing player in his own right, politics enter the picture and we end up with a fascinating study about the nature of people that gets beyond simple competitiveness and digs a little deeper into the psyches of how we perceive our own selves. I'm so happy to have run into this title. You don't have to be interested or know anything about video games to really care about this movie.