Punk: attitude Reviews
This film has a lot of heart, it's Don Letts's love letter to an important time and how this reoccurring spirit of punk rock has always existed and bloomed in the 1970s to make its prominent mark as a huge cultural impact in history. Although it primarly leads up to focus on the 1970s punk scene, the film covers such a vast amount of essential punk history as far back as even to the 1950s and boomerangs to cover even today's times.
With interviews with great pioneers, historians, and bands of the genre (ie: Henry Rollins, Jello Biafra Mick Jones, and Jim Jarmusch), and the amount of coverage of the sub-genres that exploded from the initial explosion of punk.
All in all, see this fuckin' movie. It'll educate you, entertain you, and most importantly, inspire you.
My biased rating is 4.5 although it really is a 4.0... I would rate it a 5.0 but, oh, well, I love this documentary.
I'm not saying early punk bands don't mean everything to me. I owe my life to The Ramones and The Stooges (but couldn't give a shit about the Pistols, go figure), but it's a total kick in the teeth to 80's punk rock, hardcore, and lots of other sub-genres/bands that deserve more exposure and documentation.
And seriously, Nirvana and Sonic Youth and all that grunge shit? Gimme a break.
Rabble rabble rabble.... and soforth.
It couldn't possibly include all examples of that kind of spirit, either before, or since, and it certainly wasn't supposed to make sure it listed all the bands that have at any time acquired the punk 'tag', especially the very formulaic and conformist ones who are not really so in touch with the punk ATTITUDE this film is talking about.
It could have gone further, and deeper, and listed more examples, and shown lots that DOES have that attitude since and in the present, and gone even further back into the past. Maybe that would have got the point through to more people. But it's shown well enough here to those paying attention, and very clear to those who got it all along and still do - it's about clearing away the bullshit layers and wrenching yourself free of the 'follow me' forces of the loud crowds and their obvious expression around you, and touching the raw core of your individual self inside and your unique context and feelings, expressing it openly and without bullshit or genteelity, and giving it a chance to connect somewhere.
That's why even John Cassavetes or free jazz or Henry Miller or something was punk, or plenty else. And, yes, it could have brought in some of the rarer and freer and more interesting stuff that came later in both US and European Hardcore, and also the rare examples of such lack of rigidity in the Anarcho movement, but, well, on the whole these movements WERE too regimented and conformist, and those examples WERE relatively rare.
But, yeah, could have fairly looked at some of the freer examples of that stuff, but the attitude WAS clearly focused on, getting in all examples is not the point, especially seeing as they're endless. 'Punk' can be a fashion or a conformist boredom that excludes the punk attitude, but 'punk attitude' can thrive without any of the trappings of punk fashion, sound, image, whatever, just as it always has done, somewhere or other, though rare, probably as long as there have been human beings. This film fell into all sorts of probably unavoidable traps, and certainly is limited in some ways, but all the same, punk attitude is what came over, and that's what it was about.
You can't put everyone in though! But I must say I was disappointed in the lack of Crass.. but then they seemed to be against everything else in England at the time.
Anyhow, good documentary. Henry rollins is a riot as usual.
It doesn't shy away from problematic sections either, which is admirable - director Letts pretty much has to at least mention his own contribution to the history, and Siouxsie Sioux's opinion of Nancy Spungeon is fairly honest - and the inclusion of talking heads sections from the creators of Punk and Sniffing Glue fanzines shows that the grass roots of the movement had such an important influence.
Anyone aged over forty will want to watch this; anyone aged under twenty should be forced to - maybe they'll learn something.