For all our coverage of SXSW Film 2017, click here.
What a great South By Southwest it was. There were some truly incredible premieres, some mild disappointments, and a truly excellent television pilot shown at this year’s festival. Here’s almost everything else I saw there this year (we’ll have some reviews of the SXSW films showing at the Boston Underground Film Festival coming later this week), excepting the one movie I walked out of, A Critically Endangered Species, whose first 30 minutes had experienced a combo of pretentious and boring that I didn’t exactly find palatable.
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On the Road
This was, without a doubt, the worst movie I saw at SXSW. Advertised as a documentary about English rock sensation Wolf Alice, it slowly reveals itself to be a docudrama, featuring one of the dumbest extraneous narratives I’ve ever seen plopped clumsily in the middle of its concert footage. Director Michael Winterbottom pulled a similar stunt with his 2004 festival doc and hardcore porno flick Nine Songs, and though that film wasn’t very good, at least it attempted to titillate the viewer.
On the Road offers no such pleasure, and the addition of the narrative keeps us away from the band we’re ostensibly trying to get to know. The concert footage is fine, I guess, but Winterbottom isn’t really that interested in letting us hear more than a ten-second clip of a song at a time. Yeah, dude, we get it: It’s tough shit being on tour, but I think the band themselves could tell me that instead of a fictional label rep that you’ve invented for that purpose. I can say this, though: This is going to make one hell of a DVD extra when Wolf Alice re-releases their first record two years from now. That’s about all it amounts to.