The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Film Reviews

By Marcel Meyer, March 16, 2001, Screens

The Devil You Know: Inside the Mind of Todd McFarlane

D: Kenton Vaughan. (Video, 77 min.)

"Revenge is actually a pretty sweet thing when you can actually take somebody who's done you wrong ... and you can somehow get back at them," says comic book titan Todd McFarlane. Creator of the ever-popular Spawn comic series, a savvy business man, and loving father, McFarlane gives everything to the camera in this engaging documentary which delves deep into the psyche of a man who created a beautifully violent fantasy world in which he could control the balance between good and evil. Through interviews with business associates, lifelong friends, and family members, The Devil You Know mostly hits at McFarlane with kid punches, lifting him up to an iconic place in pop culture. The film is noticeably void of McFarlane's critics, but as the story unfolds, friends and associates alike still can't help but accuse the artist of being the world's biggest control freak. And while The Devil You Know is wrought with some rather clunky editing choices, by the halfway point, it seems to find its groove, so that by story's end, it has built a fascinating depiction of a man who, by his own account, wanted nothing more than to play professional baseball. (Bad Dog, 3/15, 2pm)

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