Now that I’ve had time to more fully digest the underlying subtleties of The Image You Missed, I’ve come to appreciate its perfectly circular narrative structure. In my favorite sequence, for example, Foreman delves into his father’s filmmaking philosophy. MacCaig believed that documentaries should not be formal/stylistic exercises; rather, it is the director's responsibility to utilize the camera in order to reveal some deeper truth.
Although Foreman doesn’t necessarily disagree with this concept, he suggests that his father fell short of his lofty ideals. When MacCaig looked through his lens, he argues, he found only the reality he wanted to see; his narrow point-of-view transformed his subjects, and they transformed him in turn.
But is this portrait of the flawed artist really accurate… or has Foreman’s biased perspective produced a similarly distorted image? After all, I haven’t actually seen any of MacCaig’s work, so his estranged son’s interpretations are all I have to go on; perhaps The Patriot Game isn’t nearly as one-sided as our narrator claims.
Whether Foreman is consciously aware of it or not, the son has indeed become his father.