With Robert Rodriguez releasing films where he directs, writes, scores, edits and produces some people humor themselves into believing that anyone can do the same. With Diary of a Tired Black Man, Tim Alexander attempts to accomplish a similar feat. Jimmy Jean-Louis headlines the small cast as James who recently divorced his wife Tonya (Paula Lema)of four years. Alexander directed an internet clip that dealt with this relationship and from that 3 minute clip he adapted it into a feature film. The story evolves into a complex investigation of relationships from the black male perspective.
The film begins awkwardly with an over the shoulder shot of James writing in his diary. It then goes into the original internet video and from there viewers are first introduced to the documentary style that Alexander uses throughout the film. Alexander shows a scene from the film to the general public and strangers then provide their opinions. The documentary portions are somewhat interesting from an explorative perspective. The personalities of the people interviewed are entertaining and their viewpoints are stimulating. However, the acting vignettes throughout the film disrupt the flow and intentions of the director become muddled. Is Alexander making a film or a documentary? The film has some good comedic moments and some interesting perspectives. However, it fails as a film with its mixed direction and inexperienced actors.
The film has a very low budget feel. The colors are dull and nothing seems to pop from the frame. Alexander’s shot selection is basic and the colors do not aid the storytelling. The aspect ratio is 1.78:1 the picture is not compromised by the transfer. It is a very dark film with most of the documentary scenes being at night. The flesh tones are grainy and the effect reflects the small budget of the film. The color ultimately winds up unmemorable and does not enhance the film experience at all.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 does not improve the audio experience either. Unfortunately, the film feels like stereo sound throughout. The film relies on its dialogue rather than visuals as well. The dialogue is difficult to hear at times and it would have been nice to have an English subtitle option sadly there is only a Spanish subtitle option. Ideally, the film would have had some immersive effects and somewhat of an audio experience. However, this is not the case and the overall experience is below average. A minor highlight includes Alexander’s score. It is a great basic score and does work well with the film. Tim Alexander is responsible for the audio mixing in the film and seeing as how it is his first effort his inexperience could be the audio’s downfall.
Feature Commentary Tracks: The film appears to have two commentary tracks. Both have Tim Alexander and one is for the non-profanity version and the other is for the original film. The non-profanity version of the film is just that, a cut of the film without swearing. Both commentaries are the exact same and Tim Alexander offers some interesting insight into his intentions. Alexander also sheds some light on the material presented in the film and delivers an elaborate explanation of how the film came to be. Alexander conveys a very informative and enjoyable commentary. It is one of the few highlights of the film.
There is over an hour of extended scenes on the special features. These scenes are quite comical and speak to the overwhelming amount of footage that Alexander had to cut. The strength of this film resides in this documentary footage. These are the scenes that resonate with the viewer as opposed to the acting portions of the film. The film should have contained more of these scenes.
Diary of a Tired Black Man struggles to find a direction. Tim Alexander’s inexperience as a filmmaker seems to be the main problem with his first effort. If the film was strictly a documentary and the acting portions of the film were removed, the film would be much better. Alexander’s commentary track explains to the viewer his vast knowledge and entertaining personality, it is unfortunate that his first film is so poor