Spanning the longest 75 minutes you’ve ever yawned through, Actor Martinez is a meta-documentary in the spirit of last year’s infinitely more engrossing Kate Plays Christine, in which a real-life actor is followed around by a film crew while preparing for a difficult project. In both outings, the scrutinizing presence of the filmmakers ultimately provokes the actor into fits of anxiety and rage, but what’s left deliberately unclear is whether these onscreen blow-ups are scripted or actually happening: Are we watching voyeurism, or a twisted study on voyeurism?
The earlier film succeeded thanks to the multifaceted, intelligent actress at its center and the tragic backstory of the person she was attempting to portray (an anchorwoman who committed suicide on-air in the 1970s). The stakes are emphatically lower in Actor Martinez. Directors Mike Ott and Nate Silver are hired by Arthur Martinez, who fancies himself a bigwig in the burgeoning Denver acting scene, to make a film featuring him and hopefully bring him fame. Instead, they encourage him to open up and make a far more personal film. This causes Arthur to yell a lot — at his friends, at his co-stars, at the directors. They all yell back that he’s a coward and a pothead (his marijuana plants are glimpsed in nearly every scene). And that’s about everything worth noting.
Whether the real-life Martinez is this hotheaded and quick-tempered is left a mystery, but it matters not a whit, because even five minutes in the company of this Martinez is excruciating.
Directed by Mike Ott and Nate Silver
Breaking Glass Pictures
Opens March 17