Thursday, May 24, 2007

American Hardcore

Paul Rachman | 2006 | 100 min | US

A documentary on the history of American punk rock from 1980 to 1986. It seems to be made for those largely unfamiliar with hardcore, so it does not probe too deeply into the subject, but the film still provides an interesting look at the scene. The evolution of hardcore is traced from region to region, showing it's spread around the country + providing the film with a decent framework for a music history that is very difficult to present in a cohesive format.

Included are interviews with most of the key figures from the period, including members of Black Flag, Minor Threat, The Adolescents, Bad Brains, + many, many more. American Hardcore also offers an astounding amount of archival footage of young bands playing everywhere from basements to large, insane club shows. The one glaring omission in the film is that of the Dead Kennedys. Though they were undeniably one of the leading bands in hardcore, the DK members' continued legal + personal squabbles apparently kept them from allowing their images or music to be used in the film. Lame.

Though not a perfect doc on the subject, American Hardcore delivers a good overview, some great stories, + the benefit of hindsight missing from the classic Decline of Western Civilization. So, if a feature length doc on hardcore sounds appealing, this should work out for you.

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