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29.08.2017

WES ORSHOSKI

The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead

Anmeldt av Jens Nepper
(Three Count Films, 2016)

Karakter: 5/6

The Damned movie cover.jpgI was fortunate enough to get my filthy paws on this superb documentary on legendary punk rock gods The Damned by director Wes Orshoski and this is one of those features that manages to actually get underneath the skin of who and what The Damned are and why they are considered pioneers of the aforementioned genre and so vital to its birth and development.

The film contextualizes and evokes the atmosphere of the British punk movement in the late 70s, but on top of that it manages to detail just how innovative The Damned were from a musical point of view as well as how different the noisy ensemble was to all the other bands and outfits that jumped on the punk rock band wagon. You had The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Generation X, and so on and so forth, but The Damned had a sound and an image that were far removed from what else was going on back in those grimy days. In other words, The Damned had a sound that they could rightfully call their own, which this documentary of Orshoski's manages to put into perspective, discuss, and elaborate on. Where it gets really interesting is when the movie unravels and examines the interpersonal relationships between past and present members of the band, but one of its many strengths is that it is neither one-dimensionel nor one-sided, which is to say that each fraction (or division of the band, if you will) gets their say and are able to present their point of view in a thoughtful and reflective manner. The nuances and shades of grey are clearly visible and it is entirely up to us, the viewers, to draw our own conlusions. While candid and intimate, the film never loses focus on the role that The Damned played in the larger context of punk rock and just how important and influential the band was to both their contemporaries and fans. It perfectly captures the at-times surreal, insanely creative, and ridiculously explosive atmosphere surrounding the band.

"The Damned: Don't You Wish That We Were Dead" answers as well as raises questions, which is what any good film on a band ought to do. It is a movie about trust (and lack thereof), integrity, friendship, conflict, loss, triumph, and timeless songs. Do not let this excellent documentary on one of the most important and respected punk rock bands of all time pass you by; it is truly one to watch and one of the best documentaries on a band that I have had the pleasure of watching in recent years along with the "When You're Strange"" film on The Doors. Yeah, it is that good! Do yourself a favor and hunt down a copy of this superb flick somewhere and revel in the vortex of madness and brilliance that was and is The Damned.



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