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Fame Kills: Whitney Houston documentary review

★★★★

Directed by: Finlay Bald

Written by: Finlay Bald

 
Poster for Fame Kills: Whitney Houston showing Whitney Houston.
Poster for Fame Kills: Whitney Houston

A documentary about the late popular American signer and actress Whitney Houston.


Houston tragically passed away on the 11th of February 2012, while staying at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. She was forty-eight years old. She was found submerged inside the bathtub of the room she was staying in. It was also revealed that illegal drugs and other substances were found in her system. Houston had been a successful entertainer, having won multiple awards and sold millions of albums and singles and the news of her death sent shock waves around the world. Although she used to be full of energy, with a spectacular voice, it appeared that during the final years of her life, she seemed to had lost her magic touch, with her performances failing to impress.


This poignant documentary examines the factors that could had led to her end, including drug addiction. Among her personal issues, the film indicates that her troubled marriage to rapper Bobby Brown, who was known to party hard, use drugs and had trouble with the law, might had significantly pushed Houston towards a destructive path.


The film contains many pictures and footage of Houston, showing her performing, being interviewed and attending events. Various individuals, including reporters, TV presenters, music journalists, singers and psychologists are interviewed, speaking about Houston's life and what they believe could had been the cause of her decline and subsequent death. There are also closeups of the toxicology report, examining the physical condition of her body and the substances that were found in her system. Additionally, there are sequences made out of digital animation that show a transparent model of Houston's body, with the interior organs visible, in order to give a clearer picture of how the substances affected her organism.


The voice-over is provided by Lee Jagow, whose narration is clear and accompanies the images effectively. The music is dramatic and melancholic, creating an appropriate atmosphere considering that the main focus here is Houston's passing.


Bald does a terrific job as director, developing remarkable establishing shots of Los Angeles. Bald and Jordan Hill worked on the editing and the result looks great.


This documentary looks into the factors that might had ended the singer's life and at the same time it reveals her outstanding contribution to the music industry and mourns the fact that this wonderful person was taken from the world way too soon.

 






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