+ Recommended – NR, Documentary
Larry Cohen has been an influential figure on the small screen for decades; writing scripts while working for practically nothing at NBC. Cohen’s credits include: God Told Me To (1976), It’s Alive (1974), Phone Booth (2002), Maniac Cop 2 (1990). Going into King Cohen, I had little-to-no knowledge of the man that’s done everything; writing, directing, producing. By the time the credits roll, I felt like an insider.
While the documentary feels a bit overstuffed, just under two hours, the information you gain by watching is beneficial, especially if you’re a cinephile. Cohen had a hand in blaxploitation films during the late 60s into the 70s; Black Caesar (1973), for instance, was directed by Cohen himself. There are little tidbits within the film that make watching those movies even more special then just having seen them.
And it wouldn’t be a great film documentary without some special guests. J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese, Tara Reid, and Larry Cohen himself are all included in the production of King Cohen. So whether you know of Cohen or not, you’ll know just how impactful his presence has been in Hollywood. The accounts from his former colleagues and actors make sure to to distinguish between their stories and Cohen’s version; he’s such an eccentric person and sometimes his stories are a little too crazy.
King Cohen may not be for all audiences. As previously mentioned, the film does suffer from an elongated run time and very disjointed pace. There are plenty of discussion topics for a documentary of this scale, yet, without knowing who Larry Cohen is some general audiences won’t find this documentary as beneficial for a casual watch; especially not for nearly two hours. But for the film nerds, by the end you will know who The Invisible Man is and why he was important for a specific market in Hollywood.