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Review: Framing John DeLorean

June 7, 2019

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Directors Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce explore the rise and fall of infamous automobile mogul John DeLorean in Framing John DeLorean, a hybrid of documentary and narrative film that shifts between interviews and dramatic reenactments featuring Alec Baldwin wearing prosthetics and a wig to portray DeLorean.

The film details how DeLorean initially rose to fame at General Motors, before leaving the company at the height of his career and breaking out on his own to start the DeLorean Motor Company, creating his own line of gull-winged cars that would become the stuff of legend.

The cars were manufactured in Ireland, bringing much needed jobs to the country at a time when Margaret Thatcher’s policies were hindering their economy. But production problems and poor sales left DeLorean desperate for money, and his entire life and career that he had worked so hard to build came crashing down around him when he was arrested in 1982 as part of an FBI sting operation involving international cocaine smuggling, resulting in a widely publicized trial that sullied his name.

This ironically all happened just before the car became immortalized through its use in Back to the Future in 1985. While the film within a film approach adds an interesting angle to this documentary and the reenactments can be entertaining on their own, I’m also not sure if they were entirely needed, as the story is already being compellingly told through the interviews and archival footage. It also runs long at 109 minutes. But Framing John DeLorean is still an entertaining portrait of the man behind the car, that does a good job of showing how his hubris ultimately led to his downfall.

Framing John DeLorean is now playing in limited release at Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas in Toronto, and in other cities across Canada.

A version of this review was originally published during the 2019 Hot Docs Film Festival.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2019 12:12 pm

    Sounds interesting; I’ll make a point of checking this out. Always wanted one, but not a practical choice!


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