A Band Called Death - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

A Band Called Death Reviews

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½ February 15, 2017
If Punk is your genre of music, this is the very first punk band, and most people don't even know it.
December 21, 2016
A stellar Documentary about the bond of Brothers and what they will do for each other. Great Band, Great Music, Great Story
August 13, 2016
holy shit this was awesome.
how have I only seen this NOW?!
½ January 11, 2016
If you love music, watch this movie.
December 23, 2015
an awesome documentary! shows some interesting things about the record business in the 70s
November 14, 2015
Great documentary about this band joined by three brothers, colored people, that played punk before it was called punk, and its rediscovery and delayed success.
February 5, 2015
This was SOOO GREAT!
January 13, 2015
I really liked the documentary, especially the first half, but I have some critiques. Death was not the only proto-punk garage band in the Detroit area around that time. There was also Iggy Pop and MC5, and the film never discusses these other groups and their possible influence on Death. Not to say that the band's music was not original, but music is not created in a void, but in a social and musical context. In order to highlight the originality of the band, interviewers never asked questions about how other early punk bands may have influenced them, or their reaction to other Afro-punk bands such as Bad Brains, even if Bad Brains may have formed a few years later. It is a compelling story and it is strikingly similar to the story told about the artist Rodriguez, also from Detroit, in the film "Waiting for Sugar Man".
½ August 13, 2014
Decent movie on this music genre!
½ July 27, 2014
Amazing true story of three musicians / blood brothers and long journey to recognition. one brothers dream and vision realized through the family loyalty love and music of his younger brothers and nephews. You know the typical punk rock story :-)
July 9, 2014
One of the best documentaries ive ever seen! Hands Down
July 5, 2014
I've been digging their music since it resurfaced, and finally watched the doc. Really engaging.
½ June 30, 2014
Or A Film Called Death...

How appropriate for this film about the near-forgotten punk rock band, Death, that the entire film is haunted by death. It was something I wasn't really expecting. I was expecting a pretty straight forward music documentary about a band that time nearly forgot, like Searching for Sugarman or Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, but what I got out of a Band Called Death is a movie about death and spirituality. And the result is a film that is better than either of the other films mentioned.

It starts off like Big Star, a film about a band that's future looked incredibly promising, but how its success was tragically short-lived. The third act is similar to Searching for Sugarman, a film about how the songs of this band resurfaced years after their inception. But what sets this film apart is the middle section about the death of one of the founding members of the band, who was also the brother to the other two members.

It becomes this tragic story about how when dreams die, it slowly kills a part of a person. And how despair can only exist when hope is alive. The film spends a lot of time on pondering these issues through the story of David, and I found myself incredibly moved by this story. It really gives the film an edge that typical music documentaries don't have.

If you're a fan of 70s rock, you need to see this film, and even if you're not, do yourself a favor and see this movie. Even if you have to get through the first 30 minutes (which I love, but you may not), the middle section of the film is emotionally powerful.
½ June 21, 2014
An excellent documentary with a fascinating story to tell.
½ June 21, 2014
If you like Anvil, then this is your movie...
½ June 16, 2014
It's a documentary about the forgotten punk rock band 'Death', but I dug how it also told the story a close nit family & their long & intimate relationship with music
June 15, 2014
A well made documentary covering a pretty fascinating story.
June 9, 2014
Its the story of these people that makes this documentary shine. The filmmaking is decent but not groundbreaking. However, if its any note about how exciting this story is from a musical standpoint, I went out and bought the album that same night.
½ May 2, 2014
The loveable warmth with which "A Band Called Death" paints the titular proto-punk rockers is both the film's greatest strength and its greatest weakness. The Hackney brothers are charming and wonderful and listening to them tell stories from their youth feels like hearing from an old friend. On the other hand, their deceased brother and de-facto leader David is portrayed in such a sanitized manner that the whole thing ends up feeling a bit sugarcoated. Even David's wife barely registers as a source of insight, and it feels like we're missing the big picture as the ugly stuff like alcoholism and depression gets mere lip service in favor of highlighting David's almost prophetic wisdom and talent.

Still, the story of the Hackney brothers and their resurgence is quite remarkable and makes for an entertaining and uplifting documentary.
½ April 14, 2014
I don't have their recently released album (recorded in 1975) but the three African-American brothers who made up the Detroit band, Death, sure have an interesting tale to tell, even for the uninitiated. Stigmatized in their hometown for liking hard rock and taking it to a punk level, the band made no headway at all in the early 70s and basically gave up by the 1980. David, the lead guitarist and creative spark lost his way and the rhythm section morphed into a low-profile reggae band. We learn this in the first 50 minutes or so. Then, a pretty amazing tale of record collectors discovering their rare 45 (which sold for $800 on ebay), Drag City records (home of Royal Trux, Pavement, etc) stepped into release the never heard master tapes to the album, and then most amazingly, the band reformed without (now deceased) David and toured. The kids of the brothers even formed a sort of tribute band and toured with them. So, this becomes a story about memory/nostalgia/melancholy for the past, the effects of 35 years under your belt, and then the power to grasp the bull by the horns.
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