William S. Burroughs: A Man Within Image
Metascore
63

Generally favorable reviews - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Featuring never-before-seen archival footage of Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with colleagues and confidants including John Waters, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Sonic Youth, Laurie Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, and David Cronenberg,Featuring never-before-seen archival footage of Burroughs, as well as exclusive interviews with colleagues and confidants including John Waters, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, Gus Van Sant, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Sonic Youth, Laurie Anderson, Amiri Baraka, Jello Biafra, and David Cronenberg, William S. Burroughs: A Man Within is a probing, yet loving look at the man whose works at once savaged conservative ideals, spawned countercultural movements, and reconfigured 20th century culture. The film is narrated by Peter Weller, with a soundtrack by Patti Smith and Sonic Youth.
    Burroughs was one of the first writers to break the boundaries of queer and drug culture in the 1950's. His novel Naked Lunch is one of the most recognized and respected literary works of the 20th century and has influenced generations of artists. The intimate documentary breaks the surface of the troubled and brilliant world of one of the greatest authors of all time. (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Pam Grady
    Nov 13, 2010
    80
    Leyser has done his job with this, his first feature, burnishing Burroughs' legend and making manifest the enormous shadow he still casts over writers and artists of all stripe.
  2. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Feb 3, 2011
    75
    A breezily stylized, very enjoyable trot through the writer's life, theme by theme, era by era.
  3. Reviewed by: David Lewis
    Mar 10, 2011
    75
    The film is never dull. And director Yony Leyser has come up with an ending that will take your breath away. Burroughs would probably be proud.
  4. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Nov 13, 2010
    70
    There is a wealth of anecdotal material. Like his subject, Leyser strives to disengage from the conventional, while still being lucid. He succeeds admirably.
  5. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Nov 16, 2010
    70
    Leyser's collation of interviews and stock footage is polished enough to effectively perpetuate the Burroughs legend.
  6. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Nov 13, 2010
    67
    Offers a concise summary of Burroughs' life and works. Maybe too concise. At a mere 88 minutes, it feels a bit glancing. But as an introduction or refresher course, it gets the job done.
  7. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Nov 16, 2010
    40
    Reducing an influential genius to a bohemian Zelig with a firearm fetish misses the forest for the flaming metal trees; in Leyser's biographical interzone, the superficial trumps the truly subversive.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of
  2. Mixed: 0 out of
  3. Negative: 0 out of

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