Although there’s no denying that Tom Cruise was the star of Top Gun, the film also made a star of one of his contemporaries, Val Kilmer. Kilmer played Iceman, who has become somewhat of an iconic character, and one, incidentally, that Kilmer has returned to for the forthcoming sequel.

Since its release in 1986, Kilmer went on to star in some huge films, such as playing Jim Morrison in The Doors, as well as squeezing into a certain rubber outfit for Batman Forever.

Unlike Cruise, whose career has incredibly gone on from strength to strength, Kilmer’s slowed down, with good roles drying up leaving him to appear in films that certainly didn’t do his talent any credit.

boom reviews Val
Do I look like i'm in the mood to thumb wrestle to you?

In January 2015, Kilmer was hospitalised for a possible tumour. It was something he denied, until admitting in 2017 that he had been diagnosed with throat cancer, and that he had undergone chemotherapy, as well having two tracheotomies.

This documentary then is unlike any other, as the majority of the footage has been filmed by Kilmer himself over his lifetime. It’s evident that from a very early age he had a fascination for cinema, and for filming anything and everything with his video camera.

It’s a passion that he continued with, even filming on the sets he worked on, where there are candid moments that audiences would very rarely be allowed to see.

boom reviews Val
You see here, that "need for speed" line - it was supposed to be mine!

For Ting Poo and Leo Scott, both of whom make their directorial debut with this feature, their job was probably made a little easier as their subject matter had shot the majority of the footage. However, editing 40 years worth of material couldn’t have been an easy feat, especially when you consider that Kilmer is somewhat of a hoarder, having archived an incredible amount of his footage in a warehouse.

Due to the cancer, Kilmer’s voice has been affected, as he now has to cover the hole in his throat to speak. The narration duties then are handed to his son Jack, who does a swell job in telling his father’s story.

The documentary is a superbly frank and honest look at the life of a Hollywood star, with all the ups and downs that come with it. It’s also touching, as Kilmer contemplates his life as it is now, as it finds him on the Comic-Con trail, sitting behind a desk for meet and greets with fans paying for him to sign their merchandise for them.

It’s an unusual and fascinating insight into the life of a major Hollywood star, from the unique perspective of the star themselves, making for a one of a kind documentary experience. And as it proves, Kilmer may not have the ability to speak normally, but by no means has he lost his voice, certainly creatively speaking.

we give this four out of five