Michael Jackson: This Is It

In time I suspect that Michael Jackson’s This Is It will come to be seen as a classic — even important — example of its genre.

The film doesn’t mention Jackson’s death, but the viewer inevitably sets it in this context and that is problematic. Others accuse the film of covering up Jackson’s health problems. But with the coroner deciding he was fairly healthy (and a homicide investigation ongoing) it’s all the more important to read This Is It as it is.

Although introduced with short vox pop style interviews with sycophantic fans, This Is It goes on to use talking heads sparingly and there is no narrator. It is the music, the dance and above all the showmanship and professionalism of Michael Jackson that dominate. The context in which these interviews set the film is of the love, admiration and high expectations of fans and those who seemed destined to perform with him. Expectations that This Is It appeared destined to surpass.

I saw This Is It not as a hardcore Michael Jackson fan — I don’t currently own any of his music — but as someone who has inevitably grown up with his music and the soap opera of his life in the background. Despite his faults, Michael Jackson the artist has played a vital role in our popular culture that places him on a par with Elvis.

This Is Is plays an important role in putting on record what that art was all about.

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