It is truly inspiring and touching just how little bitterness Vitali has in him, and it stems from his having no regrets over a life dedicated to something he believes in with utterly selfless purity . . . The honor might be his, but the gratitude should be not only Kubrick’s, but all of ours. Cinema would be much the poorer without Stanley Kubrick’s legacy, but “Filmworker” emphatically proves that Stanley Kubrick’s legacy would be much the poorer without Leon Vitali.
Zierra’s entertaining and informative documentary playfully uses scenes from Vitali’s many film and TV appearances to tell the story of his career with Kubrick. But Filmworker also makes clear the enormous personal toll his work took on the actor-turned-assistant: Halfway through the movie, we’re introduced to Vitali’s now-grown children, and it’s a genuine shock to realize that he had a family this whole time — and was often unable to give attention to them.
Far more lucid than the middle film in Schroeder’s trilogy, Terror’s Advocate (2007), and it builds to a genuinely horrifying endpoint.