Weekend Trailer Roundup: Tattoo Nation

This edition of Weekend Trailer Roundup finishes off with Tattoo Nation, an upcoming documentary by Eric Schwartz.


The allure of this trailer stems from its simplicity and straightforward charm. There are no gimmicks, no “gotcha” moments, no overt attempts to get the audience hooked at all (unless you count front-loading the trailer with Danny Trejo, the piece’s one recognizable celebrity). It almost errs on the side of being too simplistic, as the intertitles and graphics are noticeably bare bones and a decent portion of the two-minute trailer appears to be culled from old stock footage. It’s also less a trailer and more a microcosm of what the final film will likely be- a compact little package of trivia, history and the culture behind tattooing in the United States.

Yet this trailer still piqued my interest, despite these cosmetic flaws and my having neither a single tattoo nor the desire to ever get one. It may just be the fallout from the bizarre and incomprehensible mess that was The Bling Ring, but there’s something very warm and personable about the footage on display here. Hearing these old pros talk about how tattoo history was reinvented (especially when several of them were the ones doing the reinventing) imbues this trailer with the charm of an old storyteller. It seems to have that unique quality found in so many other off the beaten path documentaries (and perhaps best exemplified by the TV specials of Louis Theroux), where a piece of film can transport you to the heart of a niche that’s existed all around you yet you’ve never known was there. It’s not so much the presentation that’s important for Tattoo Nation, but rather the world and the people being presented.

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