Radioman is a documentary about a street bum in New York who has been featured in more than a 100 Hollywood films shot in the city. Of course you would never know this because all of his roles have been blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bit parts, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he is convinced of his status as a bona fide actor.

Radioman’s modus operandi consists of finding out the shooting schedules of films on a daily basis and cycling his way there with his trademark vintage radio strapped around his neck (hence the nick name). A staple fixture around town, the film crews on sets seem to know him and this affords him free access into territories of in-production movies. Documentarian Mary Kerr showcases his numerous appearances in films (pausing to point out where he is in the background) with interviews featuring Radioman himself and a host of celebrities, but except for the laughs that Radioman’s eccentric, boisterous personality provides, the film is light on any revelatory perspective.

For a while the film seems to dabble with the idea that anyone can be an actor, not just those who get prime time in front of the camera or those who have reached a certain celebrity status. After all, why deny Radioman, real name Carl, his rightful rank as an actor based on his tenure in the industry and his recurring appearances in New York set films. The documentary however drops this aspect too early to focus instead on the numerous cameos by the likes of George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Matt Damon and countless others who share anecdotes (some of which felt staged) and keep viewers laughing. Another facet of Radioman that is very quickly treaded over is the salvation that his association with the movies has given him, a sort of rebirth from the bleaker days of alcohol addiction and homelessness and again, this is given short shrift as well to bring us back to the laughs. Entertaining as it is, Radioman never feels insightful and quick detours to his past break the rule of good objective documentary—to never glorify or patronize the subject.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and