Film Reviews, Short Review

20,000 Days on Earth (2014)

4/4

For whatever reason, singer/songwriters are always applauded for being ‘truthful’ in their work: honesty, authenticity, and heartfelt confessions about private lives are often more valued than engaging music. In contrast, actors and filmmakers live their entire lives underneath a veneer of artifice, an essential element of cinema even in documentary. Yet, nearly all of the most acclaimed songwriters are constructions of artifice too; how many know the real Bob Dylan or Tom Waits behind the constructed persona? What is a truly great acting performance without a degree of honesty? In 20,000 Days on Earth, a quasi-documentary about Nick Cave, directors Ian Forysth and Jane Pollard have both understood that inherent contradiction (as has their subject), and have crafted a film around it. By revealing very little biographical detail and instead exploring his persona, the film gets a damn sight deeper into the inside of Nick Cave’s head than any standard biographical documentary has done for its subjects in the last decade or so.

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