Mr. Movie

Battelle provides riveting document in 'Protagonist'

Any adjectives used to describe Protagonist are inadequate compared to an actual viewing. I’ve seen a couple of hundred documentaries in my 18 years as a critic and nothing compares.

Four men, a gay Christian, a martial arts addict, a terrorist and a bank robber are interviewed. Their stories are woven together in narratives that immediately hook you and keep you hooked.

What happens to these men is then cemented into the consciousness via excerpts from plays by the Greek playwright Euripides. They are performed by puppets on sticks.

The four men all faced difficulties in childhood that translated to very destructive behavior as they hit adulthood. How they deal with the conflicts -- and the life lessons learned -- are also defined by the puppetry and the intriguing segments writer/director Jessica Wu pulls from the plays.

This is riveting stuff. And the film is just the beginning. When the documentary is done and the credits roll, the serious discussion starts.

All answers offered in Wu’s fascinating documentary bring forth more questions. Whos and whys and more whys will roll around in your head until it is near bursting.

This is a mind-boggling, not-to-be-missed movie.

Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars

Rated R for mature themes, language. It plays one time -- 8 p.m., Friday, Dec. 5 at the Battelle Auditorium.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.