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‘Eddy’s Kingdom’ review: Interesting documentary takes odd stance

An odd choice.

Eddy’s Kingdom is one of the strangest topics to be covered in a documentary. By default, this also makes it one of the most interesting. Eddy Haymour is a Lebanese-Canadian who has had troubles with the law throughout his life. In particular, the documentary focuses on Haymour’s attempts to turn an island he purchased into a theme park.

The documentary has plenty of talking head interviews. Along with Haymour himself, there are appearances from his daughters, lawyers, and his second wife. Even though they are usually in contrast to “Canada’s First Terrorist”, they do shed some light into Haymour. This is important since it is hard to tell whether he willingly disregards laws or truly does not understand her is committing crimes.

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This is where Eddy’s Kingdom will struggle for many people. The film has a generally upbeat tone. There is an almost fun quality to the hear about the misadventures Haymour has gone through. Along the way, the documentary paints Haymour in a sympathetic light. He is the folk hero standing up the machinations of the evil Canadian government.

Once the documentary gets into the acts the seemingly charming Haymour has committed, things become even harder to accept as folly. Spousal abuse, kidnapping, bomb threats, and holding an embassy and its staff hostage with grenades and assault rifles are all a part of Haymour’s legacy. Eddy’s Kingdom curiously tries to romanticize the deeds and chalk them up to misunderstandings. Considering the severity of his crimes, this is a hard sell.

Even those who are willing to accept Haymour as someone to be to be glorified, there will be little disputing how formulaic Eddy’s Kingdom is. The documentary is a chronological account of the subject’s life. Things move in a linear path using the interviews and archival footage to tie it all together. It is standard documentary fare.

Eddy’s Kingdom is an odd documentary. Eddy Haymour is certainly an interesting subject with an engrossing story to tell. Filmmaker Greg Compton does a good job of covering Haymour’s chaotic life. Strangely, the decision is made to downplay the heinous acts of Haymour’s life and get the audience to feel sympathy for him. It comes off poorly and leaves viewers asking questions about the message of the documentary than the life of its subject.

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