Sunday, October 15, 2006

XAmerican HardcoreX

Saw a sneak preview of the new punk docu AMERICAN HARDCORE this week. A fitting premiere in DC - the east coast birthplace of hardcore. The hardcore scene seems to be pretty much non-existent in DC these days, and I was surprised at the diversity of the audience. Way more old folks and business-types than I expected, thou still a good number of boys in tight pants, hand-sewn pants patches and even a mohawk or two. it always warms my crusty heart to see punk kids with a disgruntled parent in tow, too.

Unfortunately, the movie wasn't as good as I'd hoped, it lacks what many music docus do - a story. It has great music, and interviews all the perrenial punk experts - Ian Mackaye, Henry Rollins, but doesn't really share anything new. Attempting to distinguish itself from the flood of other punk documentaries out in the last two years, AmHx focuses only on, well, hardcore, and the major cities that spawned it - from LA to DC to Boston then NY, the midwest & beyond. It's a testosterone filled movie, like the scene is. It speaks a lot to the extreme violence of hardcore - merciless pits, gang-like rivalries between bands and neighborhoods, broken bones, trashed houses, and copious drug consumption. Sadly, despite the current reputation of some of the hardcore fathers as pacifists and feminists no one says there's anything wrong with the out of control nature of the violence.
Women are also largely excluded from this story, The only interviews with women are token pretty girls, girlfriends and ex-wives. Kira Roessler, Black Flag's only female member, was interviewed, but her place in the story was more as Rollins' ex-gf than a female force in a hyper-masculine scene.

AmHx is, overall, too long, and though the music is good, there's no real investigation into the scene that would make the film appealing for anyone who isn't already into hardcore.

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