'Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction' is a close look at a quiet actor

In 'Stanton,' director Sophie Huber's ethereal moodiness can get old, but the film is still entertaining.

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    Harry Dean Stanton is the subject of director Sophie Huber's documentary.
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Harry Dean Stanton is a marvelous actor and, at least from a visual standpoint, a marvelous camera subject. He’s not much of a talker, though. This presents a problem for first-time documentary filmmaker Sophie Huber.

In “Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction,” she attempts to turn Stanton’s ornery taciturnity into an almost Zen state. She films him as if she were making a movie by, say, Wim Wenders or David Lynch, both of whom have directed Stanton. Huber’s ethereal moodiness can be annoying but, in spite of itself, the film is bracing.

Stanton has been in movies as diverse as “Alien” and “Paris, Texas,” and, along with clips from those films, we also see memorable moments from “Repo Man” and “Cool Hand Luke.” (I wish “The Rose” and “Straight Time” had also been prominently featured.) It’s a truism, reinforced here, that actors often are the last to comprehend how they do what they do. No matter. What they give us is all that counts. Grade: B- (Unrated.)


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