Love, Antosha

In 2016, the son of two Russian ice skating stars was pinned between the gate to his home and a soon to be recalled Jeep Grand Cherokee that literally pushed the air out of him. Having grown up in front of the camera, Anton Yelchin is mostly identified as “that Star Trek guy who played Chekov,” but from early in his career he played off established Hollywood elites from Martin Landau and Frank Langella to Jodie Foster, Joe Dante and Kristen Stewart (who had her heart broken by him as a teen). Director Garret Price uses film clips, excerpts of home movies and new (post-tragedy) interviews from the likes of J.J. Abrams, Chris Pine and his parents to shed light on his behind-the-scenes struggle against cystic fibrosis, his eternal quest to absorb cinema and music, and his association with Travis Bickle (De Niro’s character in Taxi Driver, which he’d written a screenplay about!) His appearance on ER and in numerous commercials led to Yelchin being cast as a child actor in Hearts in Atlantis and Along Came a Spider before he got noticed for Alpha Dog, and Charlie Bartlett tagged him as the one to watch in Hollywood. With 69 films and TV shows to his credit, he was indefatigable, even joining a band called The Hammerheads. What this documentary confirms for me is his dedication to old cinema (films by John Ford and Fassbinder are spotted as the camera scans past his DVD collection) and his determination to bring to the attention of his fellow actors a film like The Big Heat!