My Old School review – deft documentary on a notorious schoolboy imposter
One of those improbable tales that seem almost too weird to be true, the story of Brandon Lee, the unusually mature 16-year-old student transferred to Bearsden Academy in Glasgow in 1993, holds an enduring fascination for his fellow students. One of them is Jono McLeod, the director of this mischievous exploration of the now infamous case of a thirtysomething con artist who passed himself off as a kid.
It’s a limber piece of film-making that blends animation (there’s a hint of the distinctive style of Beavis and Butt-Head in the crude figures and graphic simplicity), documentary interviews and dramatisation, this courtesy of Alan Cumming. The actual “Brandon Lee” agreed to be interviewed but refused to allow his face to be shown. Instead, Cumming lip-syncs his words and delivers an intuitive parallel performance, in a technique similar to that of Clio Barnard’s The Arbor. It’s a fascinating story that starts as an affable, strange-but-true tall tale but ends in a decidedly minor key.