Bruce Thierry Cheung adapted this story from a novel by Dean Bakopoulos, brilliantly changing the setting from Michigan to the California desert. The film is light on dialog and heavy on brutally beautiful cinematography painting the mood.
What We Started achieves the directors stated goal of being an impressively comprehensive history of EDM. So much so that the film drags: unless one is a truly deep aficionado, 90 densely packed minutes of info about EDM is too much. It would work better with more music and less detail.
As with all dramatized stories of real lives, artistic license hammers messy reality into a watchable film. Dramas are not documentaries. The essential emotions of Freddie’s life and the history of the band are here. There’s nothing unexpected in the structure of the movie. It’s a visit with some old mates you’ve not seen in a long time.
Hardy and Nachman’s film is the uncommon near-perfect documentary: the filmic elements fade, done so well the viewer focuses on the dogs and their journey. All of this leads up to the tremendous joy of freedom and partnership for those whose lives are transformed by their new guide dogs.
Lough has attempted impartiality by showing both sides without overtly stating a position. Either side could interpret the film as presenting evidence supporting their ideology. This both works and does not.