The archetype of the sensitive singer/songwriter, British musician Nick Drake released a mere three LPs before his untimely death from an overdose of antidepressants in 1974 at the age of 26. Dutch director Jerome Berkvens’ lyrical, meditative documentary, A Skin Too Few, attempts to shed light on the brief life of this mysterious figure, whose stature and fan base has grown exponentially since his tragic end. The film divides his life into segments: his first early years in Burma, his youth at his family home in Tanworth-In-Arden, his college years at Cambridge, and so forth. Interviews with his few confidants provide valuable background information–college chum Robert Kirby, producer Joe Boyd, and most importantly, his sister Gabrielle, whose readings from Drake’s letters give insight to a private and increasingly introspective soul. The only existing footage of Drake–performance or otherwise–is a brief home movie from his childhood. Berkvans overcomes this obstacle with striking sequences in which the camera travels in Drake’s footsteps (his bedroom, the streets of Cambridge) while his songs unfurl on the soundtrack. Though a reverent, beautiful work, at a mere 49 minutes, fans will probably find A Skin Too Few all too short—just like the life and career of its enigmatic subject. —rottentomatoes.com
Yes, one of the best music documentaries I've seen, with some great, substantive interviews (many times catching on momentary looks or gestures that tell us everything) and photography that would make Patrick Keiller or JL Guerin proud. The brilliant use of soundscape is, in particular, a clever way to bring together Drake's life and music. See it in high quality, at a cinema, with the volume up loud. Seek it out.
Felt as though I had been gently swept up into Nick Drake's mysterious world made possible through the lush, poetic sequences meticulously crafted by Berkvens in this introspective, and oftentimes heart-wrenching documentary. Similar to his soulful voice and evocative music, this is a memorable film experience that all fans of Nick will love and cherish.