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RIFF 2014: A Curious Life Review

A Curious Life

A different sort of musical oral history, Dunstan Bruce’s A Curious Life charts the rising success of British folk-punk act The Levellers mainly through the eyes of a specific band member, dreadlocked and upbeat bassist Jeremy Cunningham, who will act as a host of sorts.

Famous for producing a string of seven straight gold records in the early 90s (despite being loathed by an uncaring music press), The Levellers were an act that was part nostalgia, part political statement, and made up of musicians who almost inexplicably remained friends. There’s some drama along the way in their story, but not too much of anything out of the ordinary.

A Curious Life

Which is why Bruce’s decision to focus predominantly on Cunningham – a recovering drug addict who still suffers from anxiety – the right approach. Bruce brings out a necessarily human side to his subjects that most rock documentarians are quick to overlook. Cunningham is likable, gregarious, and honest with the audience. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything, but he doesn’t come across as a pretentious prat looking to solidify himself as a rock god. The focus on the personal lives of the band members also leads to the story of the band being told through largely amusing anecdotes that serve to forward the band’s story and reputation without feeling like filler that’s falling on deaf ears.

Even if you have no clue who The Levellers are, this one will still hold some appeal to casual viewers. (Andrew Parker)

Screens

Thursday, October 16th, 7:00pm, The Royal


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