Saturday, 3 October 2015

"The Death and Resurrection Show" (Guardian 02/10/15)

The Death and Resurrection Show ***

Dir: Shaun Pettigrew. Documentary with: Killing Joke, Jaz Coleman, Jimmy Page. 150 mins. No cert

At two-and-a-half hours, Shaun Pettigrew’s exhaustive account of Killing Joke’s four-decade career is really a fans-only job, although it gradually loosens the cloak of mystique drawn around this band’s shoulders. Possibly spooked by frontman Jaz Coleman’s thousand-yard stare, Pettigrew takes his subjects’ dabbling in the darker arts seriously indeed, devoting entire sidebars to runes and numerology. (Less serious: guest witness Peter Hook, who shrugs off such Kerrang!-friendly Satanism with the priceless “I’m from Salford. Why would the Devil scare me?”) Between wobbly VHS footage of continental music shows and spinning NME headlines, Pettigrew uncovers ample evidence of erratic personalities, yet he’s equally attuned to fluctuations in their scowling sound: the initial DIY flourishes, the artful lacquer of their mid-80s chartbusters, the harder edge regained once the spotlight moved elsewhere. Throughout, Coleman remains fascinatingly idiosyncratic, whether recording inside pyramids or going head-to-head with Paxman; given the Joke’s longevity, you have to concede that whoever he’s been worshipping, it’s worked.

The Death and Resurrection Show is now playing in selected cinemas. 

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