Sunday, November 25, 2007

Air Guitar Nation (2007)

Someday, we are going to run out of unusual competitions about which to make quirky documentaries. The latest entry in the post-Spellbound genre of strange games people play concerns the world air guitar championship, and if you didn't know such a thing existed, neither did I. As usual for this subgenre, Air Guitar Nation has more on its mind than just dudes in goofy costumes shredding on invisible instruments -- director Alexandra Lipsitz uses this to offer a broader statement on the need for validation of achievement (one contestant in the world championship talks of a victory meaning he's the best in the world at something, at least) as well as the lure and excitement of role-playing and persona assumption. On the latter, it seems only appropriate that one of the film's two main "characters," David Jung AKA C-Diddy, is an actor by trade; a clear division is seen between stage and off-stage personas for most everyone in the film, the most striking being the line between quiet, polite Dan Crane and his cocky-to-the-point-of-dickishness alter ego Bjorn Turoque. It's this admission of artificiality, the idea that the participants recognize the silliness of it all yet do it anyway because it makes them feel good, that keeps the film from sliding into condescension and/or falling victim to the allure of novelty; it doesn't really catch fire, though, until it gets to the World Championship in Finland, an event as exciting as it is improbable. The final bout of the competition might be the only circumstance under which The Darkness has ever or will ever be cool.

Grade: B


Blogger Jeremy said...

Embarrassing confession: I got chills during C-Diddy's performance at the west coast finals (this one).

Also a fan of the paraplegic cured by the power of rock.

2:03 AM  

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