We all know the Oscars tend to highlight the most campaigned for movies of the year and they neglect some of the most arresting and groundbreaking movies of the year. One of the categories that gets hit with this the most is Best Documentaries, so here at Screen Junkies we've complied the best and most overlooked documentaries of 2011.
"Beats, Rhymes, and Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest"
Unlike a 90s hip-hop group into the wave of what the genre has become today.
The fusion of storytelling techniques that bring the world of late East London play writer Andrea Dunbar will leave you exhausted. Using audio interviews and sections of her plays, director Clio Bernard forms them into a series of reenactments with a troupe of actors. The perspectives that we are given are honest and somber throughout as Dunbar and her family lived in the swallows of blue collar Britain. The cycle of violence and addiction runs deep in the waters with this arresting documentary but it well worth the trip over to "The Arbor."
Filmmaker Ian Palmer throws us into the ring of fire in his 12 year long journey with rival Irish traveler families. The McDonaghs and the Quinns have been fighting each other for decades over public pride and revenge, as the young ones are conditioned by the older ones to become the best in bare knuckle boxing. The ring side images Palmer captures over the years are some of the most brutal and shocking scenes you may ever see. The world we are thrown into is tough, nasty, brutal and short but its one hell of a ride.
Errol Morris can find the strangest and weirdest stories to tell but the tale of Joyce McKinney tops them all. As we meet McKinney, a former beauty pageant queen who in the 1970's kidnapped her Mormon missionary boyfriend and forced him to have sex with her. But nothing is what it seems as we dive into the bizarre world of McKinney, who is shown as we journey from the 1970's to the present, to be a woman with an appetite for being a tabloid sensation. Morris gives us a whirlwind experience about love, bondage, newspapers, and religion all in under an hour and half.
"Into the Abyss"
Werner Herzog returns to form after his formal adventure inside a cave with Into the Abyss. A documentary that has a straight forward agenda against the death penalty but gives us an example of killers that are ripped right out of Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. We are introduced to the hideous crimes of Jason Burkett and Michael Perry, two Texas teens who went on a killing spree in the late 90's. As Herzog interviews Perry who is has 8 days left on death row, we are asked not to have symphony for these men but ask the question why do we still abide for an eye for eye justice in modern times.