Burt Reynolds is a Hollywood icon. In the 1970s into the 1980s you could argue that he was the biggest movie star on the planet.
When he died in 2018 at the age of 82, he was still working as an actor and teaching at his acting school in Florida with his legacy as a cinematic legend intact.
Before his death, Reynolds sat down for a rare late-in-life interview with filmmaker Rick Pamplin who was making a documentary about film financing.
Pamplin took that interview and built a documentary feature around it titled “Burt Reynolds: The Last Interview.”
While there are a handful of interviews with people who worked with Burt at his acting school and dinner theater in Florida, Pamplin just lets the interview with Reynolds spool out in its unedited entirety at the heart of the movie.
I get why Pamplin made this choice as he is trying to present a historical artifact of a man that he clearly cares a great deal about. Unfortunately, this choice does ol’ Burt no favors, as aside from a few instances when his charm and storytelling prowess shine through, this is not Reynolds at his best.
For most of the interview he is rambling, repeats himself and it’s unclear if he is artfully ducking Pamplin’s questions or simply forgets what was asked and just keeps talking.
Editing the interview would have done wonders for this film as a viewing experience, as there is plenty of room for Reynolds to coherently talk about his work as a mentor in Florida mixed with old Hollywood stories and his opinions of the industry, with all of the awkwardness left on the cutting room floor.
Then Pamplin could have presented the uncut interview as a DVD extra for the sake of posterity.
The movie pops the most when Pamplin talks with Quentin Tarantino who is always a great interview. Tarantino not only speaks glowingly of Reynolds and his place in Hollywood history, he also talks about casting him in his movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which he was unfortunately unable to film before he died.
There’s not much in “Burt Reynolds: The Last Interview” for anyone outside of hardcore movie nerds looking to see the last appearance of a great actor on film.
“Burt Reynolds: The Last Interview” is not rated but contains some adult language.