Directed by Marshall Curry171_PointAndShoot

The Orchard, 2014

83 minutes


By Tammy Wanchena

How does a man go from living in his grandparents’ basement in Baltimore to becoming a Libyan rebel fighter?  This month’s movie pick, Point and Shoot, will show you how it happened for Matthew Van Dyke. And it all started with a KLR motorcycle.

Matthew Van Dyke is a spoiled mama’s boy with self-described mental health issues, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He has few friends, and even fewer ambitions.  “Inspired” by an adventure filmmaker, he decides to buy a motorcycle and travel through Africa filming his experiences.  I say “inspired”, but truthfully, he seems to lack much passion whatsoever.  He buys a KLR and wanders through North Africa and the Mid-East in search of something.

At one point Matthew is so far out of his comfort level with his OCD that he decides to change his name to Max Hunter and takes on a new personality.  Sadly, even Max lacked personality in my opinion.

Things take a strange turn when Matthew/Max ditches the bike and decides to join his new Libyan friends in the fight to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi. He quickly finds himself in combat and eventually captured by pro-Gaddafi forces.

I wanted to like Matthew, because of the adventures and beautiful trip footage, but I simply did not.  I found him terribly selfish, reckless and irresponsible with no regard for the people who loved him.

In spite of my dislike of Matthew Van Dyke, I actually did like this documentary. It was an extremely interesting story and had some beautiful scenery. I learned a lot about Libya and Muammar Gaddafi. I saw pictures of parts of the world I will likely never have the pleasure of seeing, like Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Morocco.

I especially liked discussing the movie with my husband afterwards, as he shares that adrenalin junkie adventure seeking way, but agreed that Matthew was crazy to stay and fight after spending five and a half months as a prisoner of war rather than return home to his worried girlfriend and mother.

We watched it on Netflix on a rainy Saturday morning while enjoying our coffee, which made it worth the price of admission.  I am glad I saw Point and Shoot, but will likely channel some Matthew Van Dyke lack of enthusiasm if I am ever asked to sit through it again.


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