Dig! ★★★½

Ghuznee Film Society Review: Dig!

d. Ondi Timoner

Starring: Anton Newcombe, Courtney Taylor-Taylor and Joel Gion

As an aspiring musician, the chronicle of feuding bands The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre hit closer to home than most, I imagine. By far the most fascinating aspect was observing BJM frontman Anton Newcombe’s crippling god complex, his steadfast refusal to kowtow to any creative viewpoint but his own, or to treat anyone in a remotely sane and compassionate way. It shows that the guy truly is a musical force of nature, even if his creative behaviour often only extends to kicking crowd and band members in the head. With footage culled from hundreds of hours of home movie and gig reels, the crème de la crème of eccentric bohemian excess is on show here.

I was left feeling slightly underwhelmed, and I’m putting it down to the Dandy’s contribution. Their meteoric rise to fame is a great counterpoint to the seedy underground scene the BJM stayed lodged in, but narrator and Dandy frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor grates to no end with his preening. Although he maintains a comfortable lack of bias throughout his narration (as only the more successful contingent could), I would’ve rather seen the bad blood between the bands permeate the production too. Glossing over the fact that such animosity exists doesn’t make anyone any more likeable.