Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Ripped My Skin Off Tonight

Myself and the eight other extremely obsessed fans of The National attended a showing of A Skin, A Night, this evening. I anticipated a night rich with social capital, of isolated individuals coming together to partake in a shared experience. Instead, what I received for my $3 ticket and $4 Miller Genuine Draft was a shit show of a film. The documentary, in theory about the recording of The National's last album, Boxer, proved to be an object lesson in pretentious nonsense. From a film whose director is now famous for his 'takeaway shows' came only an increased desire to not take away the vomit I had left beside my seat. I speak almost literally. As vague pieces of The National in their recording plays through the background, Vincent Moon (yes it's the director's name, and yes that long shot of the moon at one point is no doubt purposeful) and his camera nauxiously dart around New York City. We are shown buildings (in black and white!) from the perspective of a moving train, the bowels of concert venues (the camera that shows them is, like, shaky!), and yes, occasionally, The National's recording studio with, sometimes, the band sort of playing instruments.

But do not fear! No cliches are to be found in this documentary, and I have little reason to believe Moon wouldn't have killed the band himself if he had full artistic control of this project. When The National speak their voices are barely audible, drowned out by music; when The National play, the camera spins through the room and through The City. Nevermind that the band's lyrics typically concern intimate relationships and small, indoor spaces. When Moon hears music, like in his takeaway shows, he hears subways and escalators and big apartment complexes. Never before has an audience been forced to so disappointingly suffer through the tyranny of an artist. Never before have eight people, joined together by a common love of a band, been so brutally silenced by a mindless director who grins as he reduces his subjects to gibberish on the big screen. This documentary sucks. I want my band back.


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