Ok, so maybe it’s a bit blunt, but this movie will fuck with your soul. Scott Walker is a god . . . at least according to everybody in this film. With interviews from Radiohead, David Bowie, Damon Albarn, and Jarvis Cocker, the film tells the story of cult musician Scott Walker, one time teen pop-idol with the Walker Brothers turned avante-garde freak composer over the course of 40 years. This movie analyzes the antagonizing creative process and pleasantly demented psyche of a man who hides in the shadows of his former self, but perfectly soundtracks that nightmarish darkness. The film conducts rare interviews with Walker himself and provides an inside look into Walker’s intense recording process, something never before unleashed to the public. It’s definitely a great film, and a particularly riveting look into a musician many know nothing about, and who musicians often site as a major influence.
The only problem is that once you watch the film, for a little while you feel like all other “music” is worthless. The movie acts as if Scott Walker is god’s gift to sound, and that most else is simply derivative drivel. Take Brian Eno’s statement when listening to one of Walker’s earlier songs: “It’s humiliating to hear this… We haven’t got any further than this. [Today, with] all these bands that sound like Roxy Music and Talking Heads…it’s a disgrace, really.”
Ok, so the guy is visionary and completely unique. He makes deep melancholia sound hauntingly fresh, but other music is still ok, Eno. Not everything has to smack you in the face, pin you down on the ground, and say “listen to this SHIT!!” But that’s kind of what Walker’s recent music does, so I guess they do have a point. The man is a sort of genius, capable of producing nightmarish beauty, and this film hammers that idea into your head. I highly recommend seeing the film, as it is all consuming, but be weary that you may start feeling a bit uneasy about music in general by film’s end. You can hear the cookie-cutter mother of your imagination comforting you, “Don’t listen to them, honey. They don’t know what they’re talking about.” The scary part of it all is, these are the ones who do know what they’re talking about.
For now let’s just say that both Scott Walker and the rest of the world of music can coexist peacefully.