The Man, the Myth, the Legend
“Framing John DeLorean” is an exceptional across-the-board film that shows how a risk-taking addiction can lead to losing everything. The DeLorean historian authors, co-engineers and former employees all bring the ambiguous enigma to the forefront by sharing factual information that uncovers his true story—myth no more—the legend is revealed.
Surprisingly this is the first John DeLorean film that ever came to fruition, many other untitled John DeLorean film projects were abandoned, until now.
What you think you may know about John DeLorean may surprise you after seeing this inspiring yet cautionary tale that includes shocking FBI footage of a DeLorean supposed undercover drug deal, his Hollywood glamorous life, the design, manufacture and fall of the DeLorean car, the impact of the movie, “Back to the Future” on the sales of DeLorean cars after the fall, and never before interviews with his two adult children Kathryn and Zac DeLorean. This excellent film leaves no stone uncovered in its pursuit of peeling back the layers of a genius who turned corrupt.
Filmmakers Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce, the director-producer team, also behind “The Art of the Steal,” tell the captivating tale of the rogue maverick, whose rise from whiz-kid engineer at General Motors — he designed the GTO, which brought life back to the ‘Grandma Pontiac’ brand by defining a Detroit muscle car culture—then eventually starting his own, DeLorean Auto Company.
“Framing John DeLorean” incorporates the documentary-hybrid style to tell the story of the Detroit car executive, who was forced out of General Motors by trying to outsmart the top brass at their own game. Alec Baldwin plays him in the narrative scenes, and he’s also filmed while he’s preparing in his dressing room—by speaking ‘off-camera style’ telling us his thoughts on how he thinks Delorean would want him to play himself—according to Baldwin, that would be a hero. Morena Baccarin, who portrays his wife Cristina Ferrare, also steps out of character to discuss her observations of the wife of a high-powered driven man.
By the time the DeLorean car, with its vertically-opening doors that looked like gull wings atop the vehicle, was immortalized in “Back to the Future” —the heaven-sent Hollywood product placement — his company was crushed, Ferrare who had stood by his side until after the second trial—leaves him a few days after the verdict.
Former Naperville, Illinois DeLorean historian and DeLorean car owner and co-producer of the film, Tamir Ardon, during a Q&A which I moderated at the Tivoli Theater in Downers Grove, Illinois also included Park Ridge, Illinois author Hillel Levine, “Grand Delusions: The Cosmic World of John DeLorean” both provided insight and facts about DeLorean and the film.
Perhaps the most alarming and utterly sad individual to be affected by DeLorean’s bad business deals is his adult son, Zac. Who clearly states in the film, “My dad adopted me at two weeks old, he was my best friend.” His life changed the day FBI agents took his father away in handcuffs, in a $24 million sting operation involving 200 pounds of cocaine. And though he was acquitted, further investigations revealed a $17.6 million aperture in his accounting, ruining his reputation as a businessman. Filmmakers take us inside his, ‘crappy little apartment,’ as he calls it, and the longer the apartment footage rolls, the more we see of the filthy conditions he now lives. Zac, himself brings up his former family life in the swanky Manhattan apartment with servants, crystal, and china.
Vindication is apt for Zac, as in my favorite part of this film—the filmmakers asked Zac how he thought the film should end—just be prepared to smile as Zac calls the ending frame.
Studio: IFC Films
Sarah Knight Adamson© June 23, 2019