My Old School is a captivating documentary about an amazing hoax. That also means it's not an easy film to review because I don't want to give away too much, but I have to at least give you an idea of what it's about. Trust me, though, you will want to see this movie.
Filmmaker Jono Mcleod returns to his old high school to interview former classmates and faculty and tell an extraordinary tale that he, himself, was also involved in. It was 1993, and the new student enrolled at Bearsden Academy in Glasgow, Scotland was 16-year-old Brandon Lee. Lee seemed odd, but was highly intelligent, and quickly ingratiated himself to his classmates and teachers. He tutored other students, starred in the school play of the musical South Pacific, held bodacious house parties, and brought together bullies and their victims to become friends. Yes, Brandon was too good to be true, and yes, he wasn't what he appeared to be. The truth did come out, and it's a crazier story than you may think.
The person who is the subject of this documentary refused to take part in the making of it, so that does lessen its impact. However, director McLeod and his filmmaking team come up with some creative alternatives, like having actor Alan Cumming play Brandon Lee by lip-syncing to an audio interview of the person known as Brandon. There are also amusing cartoon re-enactments in between actual interviews of the now adult students from the school who lived through those unbelievable events from 1993.
There are a few times here and there that the movie's momentum lags, but, for the most part, this documentary is funny, sad, weird, and, well, even a little creepy.
My Old School is playing at the Zeitgeist Theatre (6621 St. Claude Ave.).