By James Rocchi (repint from 2009 Sundance Film Festival)

The September Issue
, directed by RJ Cutler (The War Room), offers the tantalizing promise of immediate inside pleasures with its synopsis alone, as it follows Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and her editorial team in the assembly and shaping of 2007's edition of the title issue of Vogue magazine -- the largest issue of the year, the holy writ and testament for the upcoming year in fashion, the big brassy bloated bane of every postal carrier's existence. Immediately, we're promised glamour, high-stakes editorial crisis, the confluence of commerce and style, the manic business of modern magazine publishing.

The good news is not only that The September Issue offers much more than those immediate inside pleasures -- although it does, commenting on celebrity culture, digital image-altering technology, power and privilege in the distraction-industrial complex and much more -- but that it delivers those immediate inside pleasures superbly along with the nitty-gritty, so we get to witness a mix of high fashion and near-fascism with Ms. Wintour as the iron fist inside the stylish hand-stitched calfskin glove -- velvet is so last year, darling.