Watch Shadowman

  • 2017
  • 1 hr 21 min
  • 7.3  (261)
  • 78

Shadowman is a documentary film that explores the life and art of Richard Hambleton, a street artist who gained notoriety in the 1980s for his striking and often eerie paintings of shadowy figures. Directed by Oren Jacoby, the film seeks to shed light on both Hambleton's stunning artistic achievements and the personal demons that plagued him throughout his career.

The documentary opens with a glimpse of Hambleton in his studio, painting a large canvas with bold, fluid strokes. From there, the film backtracks to Hambleton's early years in Vancouver, Canada, where he first discovered his passion for art. Despite a difficult childhood and limited resources, Hambleton quickly established himself as a prodigious talent, experimenting with a variety of styles and mediums.

As Hambleton's art grew in reputation and popularity, he moved to New York City and joined a thriving downtown art scene. With his signature "Shadowman" paintings, Hambleton made a name for himself as a street artist, creating large-scale works on buildings and walls throughout the city. The film includes striking footage of these works, which often feature ghostly, human-like figures rendered in black paint against a white background.

Yet as Hambleton's profile rose, so too did his struggles with addiction and mental illness. The film features interviews with Hambleton's former friends and collaborators, many of whom describe his erratic behavior and worsening drug use. Despite these personal challenges, however, Hambleton continued to produce remarkable art, often using the world around him as inspiration. One particularly poignant scene shows Hambleton painting a shadowy figure onto an old canvas he found discarded on the street.

Throughout the film, director Oren Jacoby skillfully weaves together archival footage, interviews, and Hambleton's own artwork to create a rich and detailed portrait of the artist. The film eschews a traditional chronological structure in favor of a more impressionistic approach, bouncing between Hambleton's past and present with ease. This structure allows the film to delve more deeply into Hambleton's troubled psyche and the ways in which his art and his life intertwined.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Shadowman is the raw honesty with which it portrays its subject. Rather than shying away from Hambleton's flaws and struggles, the film tackles them head-on, painting a complex and nuanced picture of a deeply troubled but undeniably talented artist. Equally impressive are the film's interviews, which include candid and emotional reflections from figures as diverse as art critic Carlo McCormick, curator Jeffrey Deitch, and fellow street artist Banksy.

Ultimately, Shadowman is a powerful and deeply affecting tribute to an artist whose work and life remain shrouded in mystery. Through its thoughtful and immersive exploration of Richard Hambleton's art and legacy, the film prompts us to ask difficult questions about the nature of creativity, fame, and mental illness. Whether you are a fan of Hambleton's art or simply interested in the fascinating and often turbulent world of 1980s New York, Shadowman is a must-see documentary that will linger with you long after the credits roll.

Shadowman is a 2017 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 21 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3 and a MetaScore of 78.

Where to Watch Shadowman
Shadowman is available to watch free on Plex, Tubi TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Shadowman for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 21 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.3  (261)
  • Metascore