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Fast, Cheap & Out of Control

Fast, Cheap & Out of Control

1997
Documentary
1h 20m
What do an elderly topiary gardener, a retired lion tamer, a man fascinated by mole rats, and a cutting-edge robotics designer have in common? Both nothing and everything in this unconventional documentary directed by Erroll Morris. (imdb)
Your probable score
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Fast, Cheap & Out of Control

1997
Documentary
1h 20m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 61.11% from 266 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(266)
Compact view
Compact view
Rated 15 Aug 2008
80
87th
One of the few documentaries that has managed to hold my attention. The four men initially seem completely unconnected to each other, but through some brilliant editing a much deeper, much subtler picture emerges. A must-watch.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
4
44th
A study in how powerful editing is. Creates a lot out of a little.
Rated 30 Jul 2009
63
60th
The robotics engineer was fascinating (I wanted to see more of those robots!), the mole rat specialist was also really interesting, the bits with the topiary gardener would have been boring if they didn't seem so ridiculously lame, detached and unrelated (inducing some laughs even), and the animal tamer I just wished would get eaten alive for his distasteful practice and the miserable condition the lions were in. I think Morris hoped everything would get pulled together by analogy.
Rated 28 Mar 2010
60
28th
While the topics tend to cross paths thanks to some fancy editing, the film ultimately feels uncomfortably disjointed. Robert Richardson shoots some memorable imagery, at least.
Rated 16 Oct 2010
4
55th
Almost comes together well enough, just almost. It should have been exclusively on the robotics and mammal man, with the horrid animal trainer cut right out, despite the synchronicity of it all. And I kept forgetting the gardener was even in this until another of his small segments regrettably resurfaces. The flow is just not right; a good 5-10 minutes must have been used on the superfluous circus stunt shots.
Rated 12 Apr 2012
70
50th
I LIKED IT WHEN KITTY PUT ITS PAW IN THE WATER AND THEN LICKED IT.
Rated 05 Mar 2011
83
72nd
Editing together four rather unrelated pieces into a pretty coherent whole like this is rather impressive, and having found three of the film's four subjects to be thoroughly intriguing I quite enjoyed the experience. Even so, it doesn't always fit together as well as I would have liked, sometimes feeling unfocused or repetitive.
Rated 05 Feb 2012
70
72nd
Errol Morris is best when keeping to one subject rather than sewing together a wayward cinematic quilt constructed from his cadre of nefarious weirdos. However, there's still some real fun in this film, particularly as it pertains to the life of the bow-tied child snatcher.
Rated 02 Dec 2012
50
40th
At first the juxtaposition of the 4 different characters, sets of imagery and ideas was fascinating, creative and interesting - after 30-45 minutes I was really no longer interested...
Rated 30 Jun 2007
10
93rd
A deceptively profound film.
Rated 19 Feb 2024
50
26th
Interesting although it appears to aspire to something far more engaging than it is, a kind of Herzog-lite. Very lite. Sometimes I think it's good to watch a film like this, if only to develop an appreciation for more successfully executed films which aim for the apprehension by the audience of some synthetic concept that is not explicit. Quite a fine balancing act between simplicity and complexity, which Morris here calculates a bit awry.
Rated 06 Nov 2009
100
93rd
Inspired madness abound!
Rated 01 Aug 2008
80
68th
Another of Errol Morris's refreshingly unconventional documentaries
Rated 28 Apr 2019
4
55th
the dork in the ridiculous bowtie who's so besotted with the ugliest most insectile mammals on the planet that by the end he's all but married them, i have boundless affection for that dude.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
64
23rd
Occasionally interesting, but on the whole not really worthwhile. The topiary guy was especially useless, contributing almost nothing of substance. Morris went overboard with the stock footage, bloating the movie by at least 10 minutes, perhaps closer to 20. The musical score was also annoyingly intrusive.
Rated 26 Jun 2015
48
34th
I have no idea what this was about. Weird but not very wonderful.
Rated 24 Dec 2009
6
55th
Reminded me of Errol's first film, Gates of Heaven, but this time he had much more interesting material to work with. The soundtrack was a bit overbearing and he added a lot of stuff in with stock footage just to make it feature length, some of it was unnecessary. Pretty interesting but a forgettable film from the legendary documentarian.
Rated 27 Feb 2012
85
86th
Those poor lions :( Son of a bitch, I wanted to hear more about naked mole rats.
Rated 22 Jul 2013
50
33rd
Not my style at all, found it unwatchable but harmless in its way so I didn't give it a rockbottom score
Rated 20 Oct 2007
88
85th
Human beings are wondrous creatures.
Rated 31 Aug 2012
55
14th
A documentary that does absolutely nothing. Probably made fast, cheap and without much control.

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