Please note that there is an option to add closed captions at the bottom-right corner of the player.
Gary Oldman is just the starriest presence in a fascinating overview of the Victorian cinema pioneer.
Born Edward James Muggeridge, Eadweard Muybridge, as he became known, took photography into the realm of motion pictures. In the late 19th century, he had amassed an extraordinary body of photographs, collections of still images shot in quick succession that, when played on one of his many contraptions, gave the illusion of movement. (It’s the images of a Black jockey riding a horse that Keke Palmer’s character discusses at the beginning of Jordan Peele’s Nope.) That project began as a wager with industry magnate Leland Stanford. There were to be countless more projects by and a legion of myths surrounding this mercurial figure, many of which Marc Shaffer attempts to unravel in his enlightening and hugely entertaining documentary.
Oldman, who has designs on directing a biopic about Muybridge, is an entertaining speaker. As are the other interviewees, who shed light on the pioneer’s career and the times he lived in. But it becomes clear that his achievements in the field and science and art are matched by a colourful life that skirted the fringes of the law and proved divisive in a morally repressive society.