Gay. Hippie. Killer. Punk. Poet. Junkie. Each one, a label you might apply to this documentary’s subject: William S. Burroughs. Each one, a poor, inadequate attempt to describe the depth of Burroughs’ character. A Man Within surfaces just a bit of what Burroughs harbored in his embattled soul, and through all his concerns at all altitudes of the human station, he longed, sometimes disastrously, for a modicum of control.
A Man Within is a neatly structured documentary, sometimes to its own detriment, including the Disney-fied ending segment with John Waters. It delivers a cast of talking heads and archival footage that won’t put you to sleep, but neither will it provoke you to explore much more than what Leyser was able to unroot from, “within.”
- William S. Burroughs: A Man Within (Leyser/Leyser 2011) @ Little Roxie