I confess to knowing very little, in fact next to nothing as it transpires, about Paul Walker, star of the Fast & Furious Franchise and films such as Running Scared and Flags Of Our Fathers.
I Am Paul Walker is a documentary about the young actor, tragically taken away from us in 2013 after a car accident.
There’s commentary from Paul’s family; his mother, father, sister and brothers – both of whom could pass for his twin. We also hear from co-star Tyrese Gibson, director Rob Cohen, his agent, Paul’s stunt double and an actor friend of his.
As it transpires, Paul was a conflicted man. He had a love of the ocean which, second only to his daughter Meadow, was the main passion in his life.
Quite often he would disappear from the world, his agent being unable to get hold of him, only to find that Paul had been off surfing or whale watching or something.
He didn’t like being part of the Hollywood machine, he often said he’d prefer to have been a park ranger or marine biologist and went on many trips with fellow researchers looking into sharks and other marine life.
Paul was a big philanthropist but kept it all quiet, he didn’t want the publicity, that’s not what he was doing it for, he was doing it because he felt it was the right thing to do, that it was helping people.
He took himself and a bunch of volunteers to Haiti after the massive earthquake that devasted the country, helping out as much as he can, all paid for out of his own pocket. He even helped out on films he was in, paying for additional equipment when the director was told the kitty was dry.
All-in-all, I Am Paul Walker paints the picture of a man who was very different from his on-screen persona. Yes, he was a blue-eyed boy, a Mormon, who had a daughter young, but he was also a man with a lot of love to give, a passion about most things and always wanting to help his fellow man.
It’s an emotional documentary, particularly at the end when the family and friends begin to tell the tale of what happened on that fateful night, where they were, how they heard and the awful circumstances surrounding Paul’s death.
It’s hard to know exactly who Paul Walker was after watching the documentary. On the one hand, you hear about all this good work he was doing, that he loved the ocean, wanted to be away from Hollywood, always said his next film would be his last.
Equally we hear he wasn’t the sort to back down from a fight, had many as a child and lost few. He seemed like a man conflicted, torn by what was right and what he needed to do for himself or for others.
The documentary is nicely filmed, interjected with family home movies, early clips of Paul when he was starring in TV programs from a young age, with talking head interviews of friends and family.
I Am Paul Walker will open a few eyes about the man, I for one have a new-found respect for the man. As a documentary, it’s not up there with the likes of Amy, but it does what it needed to do; it informs you, it moves you, it tells you more about a man who was taken far too early.
11th August 2018