A Band Called Death
96 mins / Dir. Mark Covino & Jeff Howlett
An intriguing documentary about three brothers from Detroit in the early 1970's who started a Punk band when everyone else was playing Motown and Disco; and before Punk was even Punk. Singer and guitarist David Hackney was the spiritual core of the group, refusing to bow to pressure to change the band's name, even when it lead to the stagnation of their career. The lean 96 minute running time takes us through the life cycle of the band, from formation to recording; to obscurity and tragedy; to reformation and rebirth.
At times it feels as if the sentiment is holding back the flow of the story, but given the nature of the band and the bond they shared, that's entirely forgivable (even necessary). The band's proto-punk/hardcore music may not have pushed all my buttons, but their fascinating story certainly did. The section that deals with their repeated rejection by the music industry is presented with exasperated emotion, but without bitterness or malice; This alone puts Death on a rarefied level that most bands will never reach.
It's worth a watch for musicians and those interested in music history, but be prepared for a very personal story that doesn't stray far from the Hackney family.
A Band Called Death is available now for streaming and download from the links on the film's site.
No, the trailer only shows part of one aspect of it.
If you're not sure it'll be your thing, wait for a free broadcast.
Probably not, its work is done.
I don't usually go out of my way to watch documentaries. Recommend me some in that there comments box…
• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a 'catch-up' review. I watched this film at home, not at the cinema. I saw the trailer for this at the cinema, and I would have seen the film there too, but they didn't/couldn't show it. So now iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster get to reap the rewards of my local's advance-advertising, and I'm sure they're delighted. Now you may say "oh come on, they can't show everything down there", and that would be a valid point if they didn't do things like running Taken 2 for six weeks. Was it that successful? No, I don't think so. Twilight? Batman? Les Mes? Sure, go for it; if they're pulling the punters in then keep making that money. But Taken 2? I ask you. Anyway, this is essentially a DVD review, but still of a new(ish) film. There. I'm glad that's sorted.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.