47. Errol Morris
THE FOG OF WAR, THE THIN BLUE LINE, MR. DEATH
Few others have put their stamp of the documentary like Errol Morris. Beginning in the 1980s, his bag of cinematic tricks—recreations, hypnotic music, unsettlingly intimate interviews—reasserted the medium as a form of entertainment, rather than merely as a adjunct to journalism and academia. His quirky approach and pulpy subject matter (see also: The Thin Blue Line) exploded peoples’ idea of what was possible in non-fiction film, and paved the way for an entire subgenre of humorous, humanist docs like Spellbound and The King of Kong. He’s continued to refine his approach while tackling an entire spectrum of subjects, both whimsical and political. Over the years, many of Morris’s go-to techniques have become clichés (comically juxtaposed archival footage, etc.) But Morris has consistently always outclassed his imitators and managed to thrive. Plus he made Werner Herzog literally eat his own shoe. It doesn’t get any more baller than that.
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