After want seems like years of build up, a documentary about legendary comic, Bill Hicks, has been finished and out into the world. Often insightful and obviously funny, it should be said that American is in no way a fence sitting approach to Bill Hicks the man, or his legacy. This is a doco made by people who loved him for people who loved him.
Its presentation is a unique one. Besides during the bookends of the film, there is no talking heads here, being entirely voice over for the majority by the handful of people included, with most of the story being told via Bill’s older brother, Steven Hicks, friends Dwight Slade and Kevin Booth. The talking presides over photos, home video and plenty of photo animation that is exceptionally done. This approach is novel at first as we learn about Bill‘s childhood, early teen years and his first open mic experiences etc, but it threatens to become repetitive. Just in time though, the film changes gear to include a lot of Bill’s routines that breaks up the pace nicely making the film eventually considerably engrossing. However, in my opinion, non-Hicks fans will probably struggle to get through. It wasn’t made to get an Oscar nomination for example. The film’s greatest benefit is that it will appeal to established fans the most.