Documentary by Val Kilmer charts Hollywood's rise and fall

Val Kilmer's return to the Cannes film festival was both fascinating and bittersweet. He has created a new documentary that charts his rise and fall in Hollywood via his home recordings.

Documentary by Val Kilmer charts Hollywood's rise and fall

Amazon's documentary "Val", which was produced by Amazon, is a touching portrait of the actor, now at 61. His career has seen more ups than the fighter planes in his breakthrough film "Top Gun".

Kilmer's voice is the most striking, which has been transformed into an almost incomprehensible rasp due to treatment for throat cancer.

He is set to return to Iceman in the much-anticipated sequel "Top Gun, Maverick" this fall.

The documentary shows him as a shadow or a shadow of himself, reduced to signing autographs at conventions. He calls it "selling his old self."

The film heavily draws on Kilmer's vast library of home videos. He was always carrying a camera around with him all his life. This allows for intimate behind-the scenes footage from his hits like "Tombstone", The Doors, and "Batman Forever".

The Hollywood Reporter called the film "agile, alive", and praised its star's honesty: "How many movie stars are so physically altered and willing to go down the slope of an A-list career?"

John Frankenheimer and Frankenheimer have a great encounter on "The Island of Dr Moreau". It was a disaster that began his decline in the 1990s. However, the documentary mostly minimizes his obsessive (and reportedly exhausting) work habits.

Screen Daily wrote that "the film-makers often gloss over aspects Kilmer's heritage that would have been fascinating for us to interrogate, like his reputation for being difficult and demanding with his directors."

It said that there was "a fragility in 'Val' -- not just in Kilmer’s physical presence -- which is unexpectedly moving."

Kilmer was the youngest student to New York's famed Juilliard school. He longed to make serious movies, but he ended up in a series schlocky blockbusters.

Variety stated that "Being hard was the price he made everybody pay for trapping himself in a system he didn't find enough satisfaction in."

After a decade of low-budget films, Kilmer was determined to make a comeback with a stage show about Mark Twain. He hoped to turn it into a movie, but he was diagnosed with cancer.

Variety wrote that he still has the aura of someone who had his cosmic comeuppance but came out victorious." He may have fallen from stardom or grace, but he made it his own way.

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