Unraveling the Mystery is the first professional, fan-made, feature-length documentary (now on DVD) about the Lost phenomenon. Written and directed by Dean Shull, the film features a large group of Lost fans ruminating about their memories of watching the show and theories of what it all means.
If the film’s title makes you think you’re going to get some big, cohesive theory of what Lost is about, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Instead, most of the film is filled with talking heads who tell the documentarians pretty much everything they think about the show. Their likes, their dislikes, the stuff they’re most passionate about, the stuff they’re most curious about.
The biggest draw of the documentary has to be these colorful everyday joes, who run the gamut of personality types, many who’ve done a tremendous amount of thinking about Lost (one even mentions having written about the show) — and others who you’re left questioning their mental capacities at all. (The most memorable of these is a woman who sits on a couch with a bald, tattooed man, and does nothing but smile at him while he does all the talking. Her boobs are in danger of falling out of her dress the entire time, and the one instance when she speaks comes in response to something he says. She says, “like, yahh…” with eyes bulging and face blankly intense. She’s such a cliché, I can’t decide if it’s funny or sad.)
There’s the male chauvinist who thinks he’s funny, who seems to get more screen time than anybody else. There’s the geek. The brainy female scientist (one of the most reputable of the bunch). The rock star who clearly wants to be Charlie Pace. The party girl who’s only in it for shirtless Sawyer. The hairy guy who makes me think of a lumberjack. The funny girl who says “like” between every other word. And many more.
There offer tons of crackpot theories, but just as many intelligent ones. A few are so bizarre that they call into question the mental faculties of the individuals stating them. (More than once I was left wondering if these people have been watching the same show that I have.)
Aside from all the talking, the scientist woman also offers a nice demonstration of energy build-up and discharge using a Van de Graff generator, making it easy to understand the science behind the Swan station’s button. And there are a few scenes taken from a Lost fan party in progress, capturing the participants’ reactions to the Season 5 finale. And a few shots from San Diego Comic-Con of individual fans talking about the show — including a couple of scenes featuring the infamous “Hurley Fan” who always shows up during the Lost Panel. Frankly, the docu could have used a lot more of these kinds of scenes that show us Lost fandom instead of endless cuts between people merely talking about it.
But regardless of any drawbacks, ultimately Unraveling the Mystery stands as a testament to the obsessiveness Lost engenders among its fans. Rejoice, diehard fans! We are not alone in our mania.
Find out more about Lost: Unraveling the Mystery or purchase your own copy on DVD at pushingthebutton.com.
Image: Catchphrase Entertainment.