Just an Illusion (2020)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on April 25, 2022 @ tonymacklin.net.

Just an Illusion is a documentary that seems like an extended home movie. Many home movies are self-aggrandizement. Just an Illusion certainly is.

It's about a father Tim Meyers and his four sons - Sam, Mark, Jay, and Nathan - taking an 11-year journey (2007-2018) on waterways in a sailboat from Lake Carlyle, Illinois to Mobile Bay, Alabama.

It's a year-by-year record of their odyssey. But the years are jumbled and random.

Just an Illusion has more dates on screen than any film in the history of cinema. Unfortunately they don't add clarity. Instead, they decrease it and are a constant annoyance.

The actual people in Just an Illusion lack any human depth. They are like extras with occasional dialogue. I assume they delight their own family audience.

The sons are given things to do, but they often have no relevance. In one scene, a son hunts through a collection of music albums. Eventually he finds the one he is looking for. Good for him. But it doesn't matter at all. Later we see him out putting a record on a turntable. Ok.

Another son tells a lengthy story while he spends his time eating on screen. As though the act of eating matters in the film.

The story he tells has no footage of the event. Instead, we see a man taking a drink and dipping chips.

"Look at our brother eating!"

It's hard to root for a hunting for an album or fumbling for food.

Director Jay Meyers - one of the brothers - uses animate interjections. Obviously, they are supposedly clever, but they are simply listless gimmicks.

Just an Illusion is a documentary adrift.

© 2000-2022 Tony Macklin