American Hardcore (2006)
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Critic Reviews for American Hardcore
Crammed with grainy, shot-on-the-fly mid-Eighties video footage, recent interviews, and a genuine love for its subject, American Hardcore encapsulates a largely forgotten moment in maximum rock & roll history.
American Hardcore, Paul Rachman's impressively thorough documentary, tells of the second-generation punk rockers who learned from the Sex Pistols and Ramones and then did their DIY thing.
American Hardcore gets what most music lovers could not at the time: Sometimes, that noise in your head and that anger in your heart just has to get out, and there's always a guitar around somewhere.
Instead of an insightful look at disaffected youths finding an outlet for angry energy in rock rages, American Hardcore is a slanted history lesson coming solely from its subjects.
What's irritating about the movie is how much time it spends on empty nostalgia -- shouldn't real punks scorn reminiscing? -- and how little time it spends truly exploring the roots of America's punk prime in the early 1980s.
Audience Reviews for American Hardcore
This was good in that it was bolstered by testimonials from the hardcore scene's biggest names, generally, but its scope was simply too broad. There is a lot of new information served up in a short period of time, for the uninitiated, and without the proper context and analysis a lot of it is rendered ineffectual. It provides a distillation of the movement that one could approximate without the two-hour investment and only sweetens the pot by throwing in a few band names and old clips. The most interesting part might be just seeing these punk rockers all middle-aged, sitting in front of children's jungle gyms.
How can a documentary about the rise of the fiercely energetic, riotously entertaining and badass hardcore offshoot of punk be so boring? The film is grossly unfocused, travels all over the place and never seems to find the right chord. Interviews with some of hardcore punk's most influential artists (including the inimitable Henry Rollins) have no logical thread, they are simply wrapped around some often great concert footage. The all-over-the-place schizofrenic nature of the film is not even an attempt to imitate what the hardcore punk movement consisted of because it absolutely lacks the manic, heedless energy that fueled it. A great disappointment. Worth seeing (for punk fans) for the concert sequences, Henry Rollins and not much else.
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