Ric Burns' documentary on Andy Warhol is thorough, informative, well-crafted, but not that original in its storytelling. I biographical documentary from PBS, Warhol's story is communicated in traditional documentary style, utilizing interviews with friends and family, analysis of experts and other talking heads, along with a voice-of-god narrator.
While pretty standard (albeit well-done), Burns' film does a few things particularly well. Most notable is the introduction to both of the two parts of the documentary. The film opens with music, and the voices of experts/family/friends over images of Warhol's art as they talk about what was happening at that time in Andy's life. Upon my first viewing, I thought the entire film would be like this, but then the title came up and the more conventional narrator started being used. I think this was an effective way to bring viewers into the film - using image and sound to tell the story in their own ways.
Also worth noting is the documentary's use of music - I'm very musicially inclined, and I felt Burns made the right choices in the soundtrack throughout the work. The classical violins and cellos accompanied Warhol's Polish immigrant upbringing, moving into increasing radical rock as Warhol made his climb to fame, culminating in the wild Factory days. The music never distracted me, but definitely affected my mood as I watched the film. I think soundtrack is an area often overlooked or discounted by filmmakers that can be instumental in pushing a documentarian's agenda, even if that agenda is only to make you identify with a character, as I did with Warhol.