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Searching for Bill

A complex metaphor for the search for answers in a desolate time.

stars 3andahalf9


Monday, April 29, 11:59 p.m.
Bloor Hot Docs Cinema (506 Bloor Street West)

Wednesday, May 1, 4:30 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

Thursday, May 2, 1 p.m.
TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

Dystopian America is the star of this documentary/fiction hybrid, which asks the question: “Where do you go when you’ve got nothing?” If you’re Bob, the film’s star, you head out in search of answers.

Bob, a down-on-his luck Louisianan, travels through the United States trying to track down Bill, a drifter, con man, and one-time friend who disappeared after he stole Bob’s car, but left his clue-filled notebook in the glove compartment. Bob’s journey intermingles with a small cast of similarly ill-fated characters, including a preacher who used to be a drug dealer, and a boxcar-riding, hitchhiking musician looking for beauty wherever she can find it.

The American Dream has already dissolved, as radio clips about the country’s financial decline continually remind the viewer. The film serves as a metaphor for present-day America, in which happiness and hope are elusive and all roads seem to lead to the same place.

With its focus on the gritty underbelly of the U.S., this is not a feel-good film, but rather a stark look at what life is like on the fringes. Some of its storylines prove much more effective than others, and it raises more questions than it’s ultimately able to answer.

See All Hot Docs 2013 Reviews


  • Ben

    This is not a documentary. The main character “bill” is completely fabricated and, by extension, everything that the numerous characters say about him and their experiences with him is fabricated. As you can imagine, the person searching for bill never finds him because, of course, he doesn’t exist to be found. This movie is fiction and terrible fiction at that. Do not waste your time.

    PS. The director of the “documentary” was at Hot Docs and he told the audience personally, at the end, that Bill was fictitious.

  • Rodney92

    I was at the theatre and people were pissed when they found out this was all made up. It did not belong in a documentary film festival. Also, it was poorly made at that.