An Examination of Life: Low and Clear (2012)

“The biggest mistake about fishing is about catching fish. Instead it’s an examination of life itself”. A curious concept to contextualise whilst viewing Low and Clear. Not only does Low and Clear capture two long-time friends’ passion for fly-fishing, this documentary explored the undertones of their subjects characteristics. Analysing J.T. and Alex’s basic human yearnings and their search of perfection.

Low and Clear did not simply let J.T. and Alex be filmed to make personal statements about themselves, it eloquently conveyed their sense of self. J.T. is an admirable person seeking to connect with his surroundings. Submerging his consciousness into fly-fishing by interacting with nature to instigate a common trust between himself and the fishes. J.T.’s expressions warranted my respect for him. Low and Clear’s relaxed acoustic sounds and observative cinematography made my consciousness fuse with J.T.’s. This made contemplating his every word and action extraordinarily enlightening.

Just as my relaxation had been acquainted Low and Clear turned the air blue thanks to Alex, destructing nature by logging as his livelihood. Up-tempo music and shaky camera movements followed as Alex’s rugged personality seeked to “freeze frame that moment in time” by encountering various breeds of fish. Quite astounding to later know that Alex was J.T.’s mentor in previous years considering their opposite personalities. How would they treat the other after years apart? Low and Clear had enough intelligence and grace not to snoop for vulgarity. Rather it is their candidness and close bond which drives the documentaries’ latter half.

Trekking in the waters of British Columbia to fulfill their deep-seated passion, J.T. felt the strains of spirited competitiveness. Noticing how Alex is catching more fish with modern bait, J.T. momentarily questioned himself. Was his ideal of equal trajectory with nature jeopardising J.T.’s fly-fishing skills? Here lied Low and Clear’s humanity. Haven’t we all at a point in our lives questioned our ideals and methods, for better or worse? Fair to say that Low and Clear taped into J.T.’s human nature with great reflexivity. Though when this happened to Alex it was in a lighter tone. With J.T. watching a viral video of a British fisherman discussing his techniques, Alex regularly mocked the context and proclaimed himself to be far better. Who couldn’t appreciate this pleasing directness?

Low and Clear was a very moving and reflective documentary. I felt quite privileged to observe unknown experiences and men of vigorous character. This is the perfect choice for spectators simulated more by human nature and reflexivity that cheap sensationalism.

Alex enthusiastically in the foreground with J.T. observing