Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Film Podcast Review XIII: The Treatment

The Treatment (weekly, 30 minutes) is unique compared to the other podcasts that I have reviewed in that it is an interview rather than a lecture or conversational format. It is another podcast from KCRW (home of the previously reviewed podcast The Business) hosted by film critic Elvis Mitchell. Mitchell has been doing this program for 12 years, well before the advent of podcasting. His guests are filmmakers: producers, writers, and directors. Christopher Nolan, Jon Favreau, David Mamet, Andrew Stanton, and Anthony Minghella have all made appearances this year.

I debated with myself whether I should include The Treatment in this series of film podcast reviews. Perhaps it is unfair to compare the mostly amateur productions to a professionally produced radio program with A-List guests. I chose to include it simply because it is competing for space on my iPod "Film Podcasts" playlist. Plus, I have already included podcasts from NPR already, so excluding it wouldn't be fair. I think that the real reason that I hesitated was because The Treatment was just so much better than everything else that I have heard so far.

This podcast is a home run. Mitchell is a brilliant interviewer--these programs come across as a conversation with the guests rather than a Q&A. Rather than the typical "so how did you get Brad Pitt to agree to do this film?"--he really dives deeply into the guests' inspirations, thematic tendencies, motivations, and of course their films. I was riveted from minute 1 of the first podcast I heard and stayed in my car to hear the end rather than wait for my next drive to hear the rest. Since then I have listened to several more back to back with always the same result. Mitchell is obviously highly intelligent and knowledgeable about film. That makes him good. What makes him great is that he is a master of the art of an interview. He is soft-spoken, but not boring. He is smart, but doesn't feel the need to show you how smart he is. He clearly sets his guests at ease and let's them take center stage. Brilliant.

Plus, at under 30 minutes, I was never bored. The perfect podcast. A++ Go get this one.

Content 10/10
Production 10/10

What a perfect way to wrap up my film podcast reviews! Look for a summary in the next couple of days!

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