As the front man for The Clash from 1977 onward, Joe Strummer helped lead a charge that changed pop music. The Future is Unwritten chronicles Strummer not just as a legend, but as a communicator and as a man.
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Joe Strummer: The Future Is UnwrittenGeregisseerd doorJulien Temple
So conventional in its efforts to place Strummer's life into a neat three-act structure that it mirrors the dramatic contrivances of the spoof 'Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.' The initial "rise" section is interesting, placing the artist's earlier years & subsequent formation of The Clash into a wider socio-political context, but the obligatory "fall" & "re-birth" sections feel rushed & disengaging by comparison.
Worth seeing: The movie covers an important part of pop history and confronts it with a bewildering audio and video montage combining documentary material with found footage from different sources. But I had rather done without trivial campfire statements of people like Johnny Depp or Bono about authenticity, while at the same time the documents show Strummer’s primarily posing attitude.
The archive interviews with Strummer and the people who actually knew him were informative and pretty cool. Unfortunately you've got to sit through a lot of hobo camp-style interviews (who's idea was the campfire? Really) with a bunch of pretentious shitbags (does anyone seriously give a shit what Johnny Depp thinks of The Clash? Really?) who come close to making The Future is Unwritten unwatchable.
Stylish but meandering documentary from director Julien Temple gets off to an intriguing start - with some insightful interviews and clever incorporation of footage - but it fails to sustain its energy. Joe Strummer is an interesting subject, and there's a lot of great music, but this unfortunately turns out to be a an only modestly compelling "rockumentary".
Both Westway to the World and The Filth and the Fury put punk in a sociocultural context, and thus were able to add something new to stories that have been told over and over again. This movie is a traditional biography and is far less interesting for that reason. Strummer's life and work pose interesting questions about the politics of art but we don't get that here. Instead, we get Bono yapping around the fire.