Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Ting Poo, Leo Scott and Amazon Prime Originals is a documentary about an actor that has come forward to share the life of VAL.

Val Kilmer became an iconic actor in the 80’s and with his role as Iceman in the 1986 film TOP GUN, he solidified his place in Hollywood. More roles would come including the 1991 film THE DOORS, Kilmer had the opportunity to immerse himself in the role of Jim Morrison and the role of Doc Holiday in the 1993 TOMBSTONE. Even a quick stint as BATMAN FOREVER in 1995.

That is the actor side of Val Kilmer. The documentary VAL digs deeper into the actors’ younger years with his parents and two brothers. It is the tragedy, love, learning and sidetracks of Kilmer’s life that he allows to be shown on film. Narrated by son Jack at times who sounds eerily like his father in younger years, Kilmer allows us all into his life through films that he has been making and collecting since childhood.

From life acting with brothers, to school (including Juilliard), to fellow stage actors such as Seam Penn and Kevin Bacon, to Hollywood calling, Kilmer’s life in front of the camera kept leading him in places he never expected to go. Learning the price of being in the spotlight and having it all come to an end is a reality check and a reality change.

Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.

VAL are the stories that Kilmer tells us about an eye-opening journey inside the love, tragedies, frustrations and let downs of being human. Although the story starts out with life and acting as separate, through its telling the viewer sees it all come together slowly. As Kilmer makes it clear that the actor becomes the character and the character becomes the actor.

For years there were mumbling of ‘what is wrong with Val Kilmer?’ and here are those answers but not in a way that is preaching the pitfalls of life. Instead, Kilmer gives us a door wide open view of his parents, marriage to Joanne Whalley, his two children Jack and Mercedes, returning to art and embracing Iceman.

Each moment of this documentary is such a mixture of joy to see Kilmer again, fascinating with the life he has led and the sadness for the tragedies. Through out his life when he felt out of control, VAL became a chance to be heard and deciding how deep he wanted to go and how much he wanted to say.

Using art (his own as well as his brothers) and music (his choice of songs just had my heart) along with amazing home movies, VAL is a journey of life. Not in a controlled sense because that gets thrown out the window completely and let us be honest, those who try to control their life end up the unhappiest.

Kilmer learns to look for something deeper and, like us, is trying to find meaning when he can, solace in moments, love from those who love him and embrace the glorious moments in whatever way makes him laugh and smile. The best part? Without slamming his palm on the artistic pulpit, he challenges us all to do the same.

From the moment I saw Kilmer in the 1985 film REAL GENIUS, and I absolutely fell for his humor and performance. Following his career, I was giddy when he played Madmartigan in the 1988 film WILLOW and will forever be sorry I never saw his live stage performance as Mark Twain. In VAL, he had my eyes watering with emotion watching his transformation and words as one of my favorite authors.

This film will be with me for quite some time.

In the end – the life you live is the story you tell!



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About the Author

Jeri Jacquin

Jeri Jacquin covers film, television, DVD/Bluray releases, celebrity interviews, festivals and all things entertainment.