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The labeling of a biographical piece of work as "Unauthorized" has rather changed significance over the last few years. Originally, it might very well have indicated that a more complete piece of work was being presented, and if not quite that, then certainly an "uncensored" version of events could at least be expected. Somewhat watered-down now, these days the term more often can mean exploitative, sensational and in search of nothing more than lurid scandal. Coming straight from Hollywood, this stinker of a DVD sadly falls very much into the second category.
Containing very little that any self-respecting fan won't already know, this documentary portrays Keanu Reeves as a purveyor of bad-luck and a misfortune-imparting jinx, indirectly responsible for the suffering or downfall of many of the people he has come into contact with over the years. Talking about his family, the document dwells repeatedly on such things as his younger sister, Kim, being diagnosed with leukemia, his father's jailing for drug selling, and his mother's many marriages. As for Keanu himself, the circumstances of his several motorcycle accidents and his arrest for drink-driving are explored in just as much detail as any aspect of his career.
With only previous movie promotional interviews to work with, the sequences of this documentary in which Keanu appears paint an unfortunate picture of the actor. He is only ever heard to be dutifully spouting the phrases and sound-bytes spoon-fed to all film stars by the film companies - garbage such as how their latest film contains situations that we're all familiar with, how it's a story that will be enjoyed by everyone who goes to see the movie, how the audience will so easily relate to the character they're playing, how it's the most interesting film they've ever done, how nothing like it has ever been seen before, and how "excited" they are to "be a part of it." To make matters worse, conversely Keanu is also featured talking less favorably about his career choices in an interview that seems very out-of-place for a DVD aimed at his fans to enjoy. "It's a Hollywood picture, it's popular entertainment," says Keanu. "So that's it, you know? I was looking for work. So that's really my point of view with it. As a career move, this particular piece wasn't really, err, sought for, or looked at, in that manner."
Described as an actor who played an enormous role in Keanu's life, River is first mentioned when the documentary reaches 1989 and discusses the movies Parenthood and I Love You To Death. The documentary then moves on to My Own Private Idaho, but makes no reference to the artistic merit of the movie, preferring instead to just use the opportunity to echo questions and pointless suspicions about Keanu's sexuality.
A scene from Little Nikita, showing a close up shot of Jeff Grant weeping openly, serves as a ridiculously inappropriate and tactless backdrop for the first of many occasions in which River's death is mentioned. With no pause to reflect on River's life, or his friendship with Keanu, the show suddenly jumps to promotional work for the film Gladiator. Whilst initially quite unexpected, the motive for this jump becomes immediately apparent as, yet again, Joaquin Phoenix's telephone call to the emergency services is played again, solely in the name of entertainment.