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Friday, 31 October 2008

for fans only: 'Joe Strummer, The Future is Unwritten'

Really for fans only, and undiscriminating fans at that. Some fascinating archive footage which really takes you back to the grey, grim days of England in the 70s, some good concert footage (though not a lot that you can't get elsewhere), but for me the relentless mythologising, by the various (largely un-named and uncredited) interviewees, and by Joe himself gets a bit wearying. The Clash made some tremendous music, but Joe himself, while his constant seeking after some kind of truth and justice is laudable, wasn't the clearest or most consistent of political thinkers and shouldn't be celebrated as such. I also lost patience with the Julian Temple style; the free-association of loosely-related images with the Strummer story quickly came to seem less playfully amusing and more like tiresome padding (to put it politely)... to be honest, I'd have preferred a shorter film that told it straight. 

Best bits: generous contributions from Mick Jones and Topper Headon, some great footage from the States, where they really do look like
the last great rock and roll band. More from Paul Simenon would have been welcome, but you sense that Paul had had enough of Clash nostalgia. 

Conclusions: If you're a big and unquestioning fan of Joe and the Clash you're going to love this film. If you're anything less, you may find your hand starting to wander towards the remote...

1 comment:

  1. Pish, pish and pish...
    A gloriously brilliant film eulogising one of the great rock n roll rebels. Temple perfectly frames the mood of those who mourn his death and the mettle of the man.