SXSW Movie Review: Dreams with Sharp Teeth

With each film festival I attend, I always seem to find at least one documentary that leaves me feeling ashamed of my own uncultured life. At Sundance it was Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, which left be with the sad realization that I was completely unfamiliar with Hunter S. Thompson, a man considered to be one of the greatest and most impactful journalists of the modern era.

This year’s SXSW Film Festival has given me a movie that has left me in a similar situation, completely ashamed that I was only aware of the genius that is Harlan Ellison. Dreams with Sharp Teeth is a well-constructed, respectful but honest look at Ellison’s eccentricities and his immensely successful career as a science fiction writer. Directed by Erik Nelson, who has served as a producer on films such as Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man and Grizzly Man, Dreams is a very engaging look at an infinitely brilliant and constantly angry man. Combining archival footage from Harlan’s life with recent interviews from both Ellison and other celebs (Robin Williams and Neil Gaiman to name a few), the doc shows us the origins of Ellison’s fame and walks us into his later life, where he is still as controversial and polarizing as ever.

For those unfamiliar with Harlan Ellison’s life, this film will serve as a great starter, an interesting 96 minute account of his world and his rise to fame. But for hardcore Ellison fans, it might not be sufficient. That isn’t to say that one movie could completely encompass the vast brilliance that is Harlan Ellison — I believe that such a movie could not really exist. Though for fans and close Ellison admirers, they may be left wanting a little bit more.

Grade: B

Dreams with Sharp Teeth is the feature documentary directorial debut of Erik Nelson and features interviews with Harlan Ellison, Robin Williams and Neil Gaiman. It features an original score composed and performed by Richard Thompson. It made its World Premiere at the SXSW Film Festival on Marth 8, 2008. For more, visit the film’s official site.

Neil Miller is the Founder and Publisher of Film School Rejects. For almost a decade, he has been talking movies on television, the radio, and the Internet. As of yet, no one has stopped him.

Read More from Neil Miller
Get Film School Rejects in your email. All the cool kids are doing it:
Previous Article
Next Article
Reject Nation
Leave a comment
Comment Policy: No hate speech allowed. If you must argue, please debate intelligently. Comments containing selected keywords or outbound links will be put into moderation to help prevent spam. Film School Rejects reserves the right to delete comments and ban anyone who doesn't follow the rules. We also reserve the right to modify any curse words in your comments and make you look like an idiot. Thank You!