set out to make an objective portrait, a tribute to his father, the underground filmmaking maverick Robert Downey Sr.“Sr.,” directed by Chris Smith, is a work of father-son harmony more than might be suggested by Downey Sr.’s typically brusque assertion of filmmaking independence.
It’s a kind of home movie, mostly made by Downey Jr.
It’s a son’s loving reckoning with his iconoclast father, a freewheeling cult filmmaker whose experimental films gave Downey Jr.“I have pretty good recall for the entirely of this incarnation, for better or worse,” says Downey Jr., 57.
was, as he says in the film, “just Bob Downey’s kid for a long time.” Absurdist, spontaneous films like 1971’s “Putney Swope” and 1972’s “Greaser’s Palace” made the elder Downey a pivotal countercultural provocateur who defined himself outside of the mainstream.In “Sr.,” Downey Jr.’s reverence for his father is easy to see, as is their mutual affection for one another.On those ’70s films, Downey Sr.’s cocaine use was rampant, an environment that surely had an influence on Downey Jr.’s own struggles later with drug addiction.
raises in the film: “We would be remiss not to discuss its effect on me,” Downey Jr.“I can relate to that, too, up until this current administration, the never-ending Susan Downey empire,” says Downey Jr.When Downey Sr.’s health waned, they moved the film’s editing suite into his bedroom.
Susan Downey, too, lost her father, in 2020, to Parkinson’s.
“He was a saint compared to us Downey boys,” Downey Jr.
The last film Downey Jr.Since premiering “Sr.” at the Telluride Film Festival, Downey Jr.
Toward the end of the film, Downey Jr.But in “Sr.,” the two films each are making ultimately seamlessly meld into one, suggesting a deeper understanding between Jr.After such an unconventional indoctrination to cinema as a kid, Downey Jr.’s genuine, live-wire performances surely owe something to the frenetic energy he had known on his father’s sets.
He calls Richard Attenborough (“Chaplin”) “a super wise loving grandfather.” Jon Favreau (“Iron Man”) was “like a brother.” Movies were and still are, Susan Downey says, “the family business.”
experience,” says Downey Jr