It took me less than a quickly-walked block after I left Seattle’s Egyptian Theater this afternoon to note the irony present in director Andrew Rossi’s documentary film, “Page One: Inside The New York Times.” For a movie about journalists and journalism, it oddly fails to tell a story. It does not particularly enlighten nor inform. It seems scattered and asks questions that are not once ever really answered or even explored in much detail. That was the last thing I expected when I walked into the sold-out showing, part of the Seattle International Film Festival, after standing in a line that stretched around the block with other people like me that were enthused to spend part of their holiday weekend watching  a movie about a newspaper.

Are my criticisms fair? I think so, even though there are many positive, even glowing reviews for the film. What I thought I would see comes straight from the film’s title: an insider’s look at the running of the world’s most famous and most respected newspaper. I expected to see what it was really like to work there, how stories were developed, written, checked, and published under constant pressure and deadlines – or why stories were not published. I wanted to know more about the structure of the New York Times – who are the people running the show, what are the politics (personal and otherwise) behind the decisions the paper makes, what the paper’s long-term plan is to attempt to remain solvent in a world becoming less and less reliant upon traditional news outlets. We do get these topics, but in a most unsatisfying way. The unprecedented access to the high-level Page One meetings, where the head honcho editors, managers, and publishers of the paper decide what goes front page and what doesn’t? OK, we get that, but it’s only the tiniest glimpse where little is actively pitched or discussed. It’s incredibly polite and would bore a fly right off the wall. I want to know WHY and HOW stories are given priority considering the impact they have upon the world. What makes the NewYork Times the NEW YORK TIMES?

The film focuses mainly on those who work in the paper’s Media division, but these men are sort of just plopped in our laps with little explanation of who they are or how they made it to the big-Times. We see them make some phone calls, tap loudly on their laptops, wander over to other offices, and drink beer together when one of them leaves to cover Iraq. But we don’t really care about handsome Tim Arango going to Iraq because all we really see him do is type fast, walk his little dog in a park, and take off his jacket once. The film has a natural star in cranky/hilarious/brilliant reporter David Carr and recognizes that – he provides sparks in an otherwise pretty dull setting. Blogger-turned-Times-reporter Brian Stelter (in genial attendance at the SIFF showing) made a great counter to the crusty Carr as a new-generation Twitter-happy journo; the differences and similarities between the men should have been explored more. How much richer this film would have been to show us more about the people who have the awesome responsibility to bring pieces of the world to us.

Don’t look for a lot of women in the film. The most time spent on any female in the film is in the story of Judith Miller, the Times journalist who disgraced herself and the paper over the Iraqi WMD falsehoods. We also get to see a few older, overweight, crying females in less-important divisions let go over newspaper budget cuts.

“Page One…” spends a fair amount of time telling us things we all already know. Yes, we know newspapers all over the country have closed. Yes, we know circulation and ad revenue is way down for all papers. We know that the internet has created a new world of information, fast and free, if not always accurate nor unbiased. We know that traditional media has had to branch out online, even heading to Facebook and Twitter to stay connected with people. We know that most folks would rather read a puff piece on a Kardashian than a Pulitzer-Prize-winning piece of investigative journalism. We know WikiLeaks is controversial and game-changing. We know! That’s all old news by the time it reaches us in a film. Please please please…if you are making a film, tell me things I don’t know and things I can't know in any other way. Make the 88 minutes I sit in a cramped, hot theater and the eleven dollars out of my pocket worth it.

In the end, it felt like Rossi turned the cameras on and expected something compelling just to come from that. Too many topics were touched on that led the audience nowhere, too many opportunities to dig deeper avoided. It’s frustrating, because we don’t know where the Times will land in two, five, or ten years – what we see in the film could be gone forever by then, if current trends continue. When making a film about an institution known for depth and excellence, we expect a similar level of competence within the cinematic vehicle which is supposed to bring us to another place by the end of the movie. “Page One: Inside The New York Times” idles in place, demurely sitting at the curb, while the all the interesting stories that could have been told remain stalled in the garage.