Val Kilmer may have just released one of the most interesting and heartbreaking documentaries we’ve ever see about a celebrity. Using a massive collection of “home movies” he’s shot and accumulated himself over the last few decades, Kilmer has pieced them together to tell the story of his acting, and real-life with the backdrop of his recent recovery from and side effects of throat cancer. Frankly, this is unlike other stories we’ve seen before.
The trailer for the Val Kilmer documentary, titled simply Val begins to give a sense of what it’s been like for the actor over the years, using footage he’s mostly shot himself on both film sets and in his own personal life. He says, “I’ve lived a magical life. And I’ve captured quite a bit of it.” From the looks of the trailer, this is a massive understatement. Check out the preview for Val, the documentary of Val Kilmer:
By way of background, Val Kilmer lets us know right away that he was the first person he knew to own a video camera. And from it looks of it, this original one and obviously others that would come over the years never left his side. It appears as if nearly his whole life is documented here. We get shots of him as a youngster and a teenager with that infectious smile and what appears to be that easy charm that carried him through the early part of his career.
There are shots of Val Kilmer on the sets of some of the classic movies of a generation. We see him in Tombstone, Batman Forever, The Doors, and many more. Folks like Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Oliver Stone among others make appearances. And there’s a sense that he even had this around when others didn’t want it on. Val Kilmer set about, whether on purpose or by artistic accident to document what it was like to be in his life throughout the years playing everyone from Batman, to Jim Morrison, to Doc Holliday to Elvis. He’s played a fighter pilot, a Sherpa, and even Moses.
But there’s a sadder aspect to this Val Kilmer documentary as well. That’s when we learn he’s been struggling with throat cancer for years and has now even lost the ability to speak. Through the use of a voice modulator, he’s barely able to speak above a gravelly rasp. With the Pixies “Where’s My Mind” playing in the background we see what Val Kilmer is like these days and how his life is change.
The documentary Val is already earning rave reviews for its style, story, honesty, and unique lens into a true artist’s life. There are few other chances at this kind of movie, needing decades and decades of commitment on the part of Kilmer to even make it happen. By all early accounts, it’s an absolute achievement in its honesty and intimate look at his lie. The documentary is set to release on Amazon Prime on August 6th after its limited theater run starting on July 23rd. This is lining up to be one of the truly ambitious documentaries ever made.