Showman is a landmark film, the first American cinemaverite work entirely free from the constraints of crisis situations and plot progression to a clear resolution. The Maysles' first film, it is literally a slice of life, a record of some time spent following Joe Levine, a film entrepreneur then rising to the top on the financial strength of his Hercules.
While there are threads of narrative continuity, there is no real story or dramatic character change. Levine is no different at the end of the film than at the beginning, and he has not passed through a particularly climactic period. The film has the engaging quality of looking caught on the run, with events happening too quickly to...
(The entire section is 1831 words.)