Film Review: ‘A Band Called Death’ Proves That Quality Survives

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CHICAGO – Wouldn’t we all like to believe that if one is true to their passion, honest with their creative vision, and unwavering in the world’s inability to embrace them that it is only a matter of time before that changes? We’ve always loved this theme in fiction and the encouraging idea that cream rises to the top propelled “Searching For Sugar Man” to an Oscar because of the goodwill it engendered.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Less than a year later, here comes another (superior) documentary about a Detroit musician for whom fame remained elusive until the next generation discovered his talents. Opening this week in most markets, “A Band Called Death” captures the joy of music, the remarkable influence it can have on future talents, and the importance of appeasing nothing but the creative drive within. It’s been a very strong year for documentaries already with “Stories We Tell” and “The Gatekeepers.” We can add “A Band Called Death” to the list.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “A Band Called Death” in our reviews section.

Bobby, Dannis, and David Hackney grew up in Detroit, one of the most important homes for musical creativity of the last century. But the Hackneys approached music in the early ‘70s from an unexpected angle, taking their fandom of bands like The Who and channeling that youthful energy into punk rock that predated The Sex Pistols and The Ramones. Practicing in their garage, the Hackneys found a driving energy, recorded a demo, and appeared to be on the cusp of breaking through, even getting as far as a meeting with the legendary Clive Davis.

Of course, everyone wanted them to change their name. Death doesn’t sell. But David wouldn’t cave. He felt that giving in a little bit would eventually lead to giving in a lot. The creative guru of the group essentially helped shut the band down rather than submit to interference from outside Death. The demos were put in an attic and the band members moved on to other kinds of music, other bands, and, eventually tragedy.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “A Band Called Death” review.

“A Band Called Death” is now available On Demand and playing in some markets. It opens in Chicago on June 28, 2013.

A Band Called Death
A Band Called Death
Photo credit: Drafthouse Films

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