Zack Fox went to the one night only cinema showing of I Am, Tom Shadyac’s latest film, ahead of it’s DVD release on 4th February.
Tom Shadyac’s I Am is not a film. It is a New Age spiritual ideology, an invitation to mystical debate, masquerading as a documentary.
Reviewing it is like reviewing cloud formations.
As a technical exercise it is nothing to write home about. Comprising of talking heads, CGI interludes, hand-held footage and a trunk-load of stock shots it is…fine. Less than fine even. Footage is often grainy, sound quality lacking and content laboriously repetitive.
But ‘being a film’ is not the point.
I Am is a passionate polemic, albeit one that has found its way onto cinema screens:
The route of the world’s evils derives from a collective sense of materialist greed, an infallible belief in Darwin’s misinterpreted ethos ‘survival of the fittest’ epitomised by an insatiable need for competition and superiority. Although it is love as Shadyac highlights, the human sympathy actually heralded by Darwin, that the true strength of our species dwells.
Taking the historically lambasted New Age sensibility and marrying it to modern science, I Am promotes itself as an answer to spiritual freedom. Though one commendably aware of its ridiculed heritage.
For every mention of the power of love and human empathy I Am presents a – presumably trustworthy – supportive scientific theory. However, from the electromagnetic tendencies of the heart to the minutiae of that infinitely perplexing beast DNA, it is always one sweeping statement away from ideological ranting.
Fortunately then, Shadyac comes off as intelligent and well measured, speaking with such passion and measured objectivity that it starts to seem reasonable that, yeah, maybe he has seen some form of ‘purer truth.’
Ultimately, I Am endorses a uniquely human-centric interpretation on the issue of sociological freedom, its effectiveness mutually exclusive to an individual’s penchant for open-mindedness.
Somewhat ironically, the true value of I Am derives from the singular experience.