Film-Forward Review: [AWESOME: I F*****’ SHOT THAT!]

Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

The Beastie Boys from a fan's camera
Photo: THINKFilm

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Directed by: Nathanial Hörnblowér.
Produced by: Nathanial Hörnblowér & Jon Duran.
Edited by: Michael Boczon & Remi Gletsos.
Music by: The Beastie Boys.
Released by: ThinkFilm.
Country of Origin: USA. 90 min. Rated: R.
With: The Beastie Boys (Mike D, Adrock, & MCA), Mix Master Mike, Keyboard Money Mark, Alfredo Ortiz & Doug E Fresh.

The two greatest attributes the Beastie Boys have displayed over the past 20 years are their mastery of sampling and that they have maintained a long-term relationship with their fan base, both of which made this film somewhat inevitable. Three days before a performance in 2004, the group decided to hand out 50 video cameras to ticket holders scattered across the sold-out arena to give a new volt of energy to their concert footage. Compiled and edited over the span of a year, the result might be the most interactive, convulsive and masturbatory concert film ever released.

The interplay is infectious, between the appreciative fans – intoxicated by being in a concert, having an active role in that concert, and, of course, by the more traditional intoxications – and a band that seems just as grateful. Nathanial Hörnblowér, pseudonym for Adam Yauch (Boys’ MCA), merges the footage from the 50 fan-manned cameras to recreate the full concert experience on film. His plan paid off, since the cameras filmed everything from the performance and the crowd to the urinals and the adventures of one camera operator, who managed to pick the lock to the backstage door.

Awesome is at its best when its editors allow one shot to last longer than five seconds. Unfortunately, that isn’t often. It’s also unfortunate that only 5 of the 50 cameras are digital, turning their brief footage into flotsam amidst a grainy, shaky sea of epilepsy.

But the film’s second half is wholly unlike its eye-searing first half, as if Hörnblowér realized halfway through post-production that the benefit of having a footage surplus is not solely relegated to rapid multi-angle madness. There’s enough innovative color inversion, saturation, animation, and superimposition here to make Richard Linklater and Michel Gondry weep. These techniques are gimmicky and simplistic, but they add cohesion to Hörnblowér’s army of cameras, creating a unique experience. Doubtlessly, any Beastie Boys fan who sees this energetic film will want to own the DVD. Zachary Jones
March 31, 2006



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