Owen Gleiberman
September 24, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Incident at Loch Ness

Current Status
In Season
94 minutes
Limited Release Date
Zak Penn
Eden Rock

We gave it a C+

The famous grainy photograph of the Loch Ness monster is like the otherworldly version of the Zapruder film: an eerie amateur record of a phenomenon that spooks us because we can see it — and also not quite see it. At the beginning of Incident at Loch Ness, Werner Herzog, the visionary director of Aguirre, the Wrath of God, throws a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills, explaining why he wants to make a documentary about the Loch Ness monster. That photo of Nessie, he reminds us, is a fake; what Herzog believes in is our desire to believe in it. Incident at Loch Ness, unfortunately, is a riddle wrapped in a hoax stuffed inside a crock. A record of Herzog?s journey, directed by screenwriter Zak Penn (Last Action Hero), the film follows Herzog to Scotland, where he spends several days with a crackpot crew riding a boat around Loch Ness. As Penn, who?s on board, soon admits, much of what we?re seeing is staged. But then there are encounters with the monster. Is real? Let?s just say that the most believable thing about this Jaws for Dummies is that Werner Herzog now hangs out in the Hollywood Hills.

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