Dir-: Andrew Dominik | with Nick Cave | Biopic | UK | 112min
Embracing the overwhelming grief Nick Cave is feeling due to the death of his son, New Zealand filmmaker Andrew Dominik has chosen to film his biopic in black and white, and with “ridiculous handheld 3D camera” – his words precisely but with the help of Benoit Debie and Alwin Kuchker things finally get on track. Leaving the 3D glasses off detracts nothing from the well-observed but overlong picture of the musician’s experience since the death of his son. Cave brings his own witty stream of consciousness to the party, as we watch the film taking shape in the studio during a pre-recording session.
With his seemingly idyllic life: a wife and soulmate, and twin sons – actor, writer and musician Nick Cave confessed to having it all in Iain Forysth’s (far superior) 20,0000 On Earth. Here he pours his grief on losing a child into a string of striking lyrics (“your legs are so long they should come with their own elevator”). He now confesses to occasionally feeling “an object of pity”, a fact that does not fit well with his own self image, but his natural self-deprecation prevents this from sounding narcissistic. Cave also admits that songs can foretell certain events, as dreams can be visionary, and this is something he shares with his wife whom he describes as multi-facetted. Clearly death and bereavement has brought them even closer together. But as he gets older he feels that “the struggle to do what I do requires more effort”.
The test of a successful biopic must surely be that it offers entertainment not only to fans but appeal to wider audiences. And here Dominik largely fails as the format and filming detracts from the subject matter. Despite these obvious flaws ONE MORE TIME WITH FEELING adds a certain something to the Nick Cave experience that will appeal to his many fans and resonate with the bereaved arthouse audiences. Let’s hope there’s more great stuff to come from this engaging musician and lyricist. MT
VENICE FILM FESTIVAL UNTIL 10 SEPTEMBER 2016