Tristan David Luciotti
First and foremost, I am a believer. I've never believed there is just us. I've never believed we just kind of wink out of existence when we die. There has to be something more. Right? With that said, I also know that a lot of people take advantage. Mediums are a dime a dozen - but a good one is priceless. When it comes to Seth Michael, and this documentary, there will probably be two distinct audience types. People that believe, and may find this movie interesting. And those that don't. Those that don't won't give this film the time of day and if for some reason, are forced to watch, will resent this film mainly because of it's extended length.
Essentially, "All Around Us" is a personal biography more than a documentary. The two genres have always had blurry lines separating them, but for sure, this leans more to a biography. Covering a vast array of linear time, we learn a lot about Seth Michael - but not just him. We meet Jyl Straub, co-founder of the White Light Paranormal Insight group... as a matter of fact? There is actually a very large number of people in this film. But let me not get lost... and continue to insist this movie is about Michael - with cameos from his family, friends and people he's helped.
Aside from that, there's not a lot to write about when discussing a documentary. You're either going to be interested in the subject matter or you're not. There's no twist endings, no stellar performances... it's a documentary. I personally found it to be a decent flick, but again, I believe in the content. Seth feels genuine enough - but that will be for the viewers to decide. My only true issue with this film is the run time - and I'll get into that below.
So let me just say that technically, "All Around Us" is a well done film. Mixing regular interview segments with what I assume is stock footage, peppers the massive amounts of dialog - and I was thankful for that. The audio and animations are all good - although I feel the backing score, that plays through the entire film it seems, was a little much. Other than that? It's a documentary! I keep writing that, but there's really no other way to describe it. Technically however, "All Around Us" is a sound film.
Then you have it's length, that also goes hand in hand with what feels, at times, like a super long infomercial. Let me be clear here - there are stories and other testimonials, that don't come from Seth. People telling their tales of paranormal events and whatnot. Yet it all comes back to Seth. No surprise - considering the film is about him. But when you consider this film is leaning towards the two hour mark, I began to ask myself why? Seth, early on, states he isn't/wasn't looking for fame - and then we're treated to what could have been done in half an hour, maybe forty five minutes. Even for those interested in the content, they may be forced to watch it in two sittings.
There's just so much. Brain drain to the max. Similar documentaries, that are heavily budgeted and done by known producers, average about forty five minutes. And they pull out all the bells and whistles. Just check out any PBS or Nova documentary. With information based shows, it's generally known that anything over an hour can be a tough sell. So for the majority of people, who have never heard of Seth Michael, asking them to hang around for almost two hours is a lot. This film needs to hook viewers with the content, not the biography. And that can be tough once the viewer sees the length.
In the end, this was a decent film. I think perhaps it would have earned another star if it were half the length. I just couldn't justify a higher rating, when I began looking at how much time was left in the film - half way through! I also feel that the people who will really appreciate the length, are the friends, family and cast of the film. For the rest of us? Worth a look - although it may take a few sittings.