Tuesday, 3 August 2010


(Julien Temple; UK; 2008)

I have a soft-spot for Temple's rockumentaries, and although I am personally not as interested in the subject of this doco (Dr. Feelgood) as I was for his previous subjects (The Sex Pistols and Joe Strummer), Temple's signature style of whipcrack editing and playful yet stylish composition makes this yet another strong offering. The Filth and the Fury was speedy and occasionally hyperactive, while Joe Strummer; The Future is Unwritten was more contemplative. Oil City Confidential is a mix of both. Temple relies on a lot of fast-paced footage, inserting archived clips from film and TV to accentuate points being raised by the subjects, and this adds a delicious verve to the film that mirrors the verve of the band. Temple also shows that his flair for assigning a larger framework to a musical subject is also as sharp as ever, as a core component to Dr. Feelgood's character and sound is derived from their upbringing in Canvey Island. By the end of the film we get a true sense of how location and milieu seep into the heart and soul of a band. And Wilko Johnson is a great interviewee, all smiles, jokes, and candid and wistful commentary.

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