We’re still sitting in disbelief about the mysterious/hysterical/ever-changing ride we were taken on with Ben Berman’s Amazing Johnathan Documentary.
If you follow The Prestige’s explanation of a magic trick being pledge/turn/prestige, Berman’s gonzo doc keeps you riveted with turn after turn after turn after turn, constantly wondering when the prestige, ending the trick might come (also with the pledge, the beginning of the trick, being so far in the past you might have forgotten what it was). The documentary ends up being its own wild magic trick of sorts. It’s definitely one of the most meta documentaries to ever have been made.
Simultaneously, The Amazing Johnathan Documentary is a film that’s about the life of celebrated rebellious comedian/magician The Amazing Johnathan, the nature of making documentary films in 2019, and the personal journey of filmmaker Ben Berman trying to uncover what’s happening during this whole process all while recording it.
Truly, Berman accomplished a breathtaking, groundbreaking doc here that happens to focus on one of the greatest (if not the greatest) comedian magicians of all time (there are plenty of clips reminding of you why The Amazing Johnathan lives up to his name FYI).
There are even some delightful echoes of Orson Welles’ amazing F Is For Fake, though The Amazing Johnathan Documentary ends up showing that truth, no matter how far you have to go to chase it, is indeed stranger (and can be far more interesting) than fiction.
Get a taste of that from the trailer, then go watch The Amazing Johnathan Documentary, now streaming on Hulu.