This is a fine documentary by a young filmmaker. It's about Sam Shepard, the playwright, writer, actor, and tortured cowboy intellectual. And, surprisingly, it's about his friend, Johnny Dark, a somewhat reclusive, thoughtful, amusing, self-deprecating writer, archivist and Deli counter worker who lives in Deming, N.M, near the Mexican border. And it's about their 47 year relationship, which gains new vitality and then disintegrates in the course of the film.
Shepard and Dark both know how to talk, and to think and ruminate, and chew on words, play the guitar, emote, and hurt each other. In particular Shepard is in equally measures painfully self-absorbed and painfully self-reflective.
The director allows Shepard and Dark lots of room to move in, and has subtly constructed the film to reflect who these men are. Many of the interviews of Shepard are in a car as he drives across alternately arid and rich desert landscapes; and those of Dark are in his modest, cloistered home, with light filtering through the curtains. The camerawork is crisp, capturing the astringent, cerulean Southwest skies, perhaps reflecting the rich and painful lives these men have led.