‘Fury’: Rage against the machine lacks focus

A recent kind of documentary gathers a huge collection of articulate people and creates a collage out of their comments on a subject: the meaning of life, the environment, whatever.

For “Let Fury Have the Hour,” which is one of those documentaries, filmmaker Antonio D’Ambrosio has thrown a loop — a big loop — around a generational mood. That mood, shared among a batch of late-to-post-Baby Boomer artists, more or less boils down to: There has to be something more than this.

Punk rock, skateboarding, indie filmmaking and street poetry are invoked to communicate this feeling. The argument is not always clear, but the folks gathered have a lot to say on the subject.

The movie begins by identifying the 1980s as a retrograde era (speeches by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan are aired and compared), the time when the frustrations of this generation began to overflow.

The folks onscreen — Chuck D. from Public Enemy, director John Sayles, comedian Lewis Black, playwright Eve Ensler, and many more — all speak to their different ways of rebelling against and defying what appears to be a system loaded against them.

The linkage of suburban skateboarding, East Coast hip-hop, and British punk is not always clean, but the film doesn’t try too hard to make it click. This is more a cascade of images, words and music meant to stir people to take action.

Singer Billy Bragg describes his excitement at seeing the Clash play at an anti-fascist concert in the 1970s, and how it changed his life to see an enormous group of people gathered for the right cause. This film is meant to kick-start people in a similar way, and it comes complete with inspirational crescendo in the final five minutes.

If the movie does inspire, great. Perhaps the wide-ranging nature of the conversation is meant to suggest how standing up to the powers-that-be can occur at any level and through any form, although it leaves the movie feeling scattered.

“Let Fury” moves quickly and keeps offering interesting people, and now and again there’s a pause for a song or a poem. The “sound off” approach finally breaks down, and before the end I found myself wishing for the focus and specificity of a great punk song.

“Let Fury Have the Hour” (2 stars)

A wide array of talking heads talk about a wide array of subjects from punk rock to skateboarding, most having to do with finding ways of fighting the powers that be. Hearing from the likes of Chuck D. John Sayles, Lewis Black, et al. is not a terrible experience, but the movie could use some of the focus of the punk songs it extols.

Rated: Not rated; probably R for language.

Showing: Grand Illusion.

More in Life

Co-owner Jason Parzyk carries two growlers to fill as he serves up beer at Lake Stevens Brewing Co. The first brewery in the city is celebrating one-year anniversary this weekend. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Beer of the Week: Lake Stevens Brewing Co.’s Sour Imperial

The beer has a depth and a complex flavor profile that goes beyond just another barrel-aged stout.

Legendary bluesman Curtis Salgado to play Arlington show

The Northwest blues-soul-funk-R&B living legend performs with Ben Hunter and Joe Seamons Nov. 18.

This year’s Snohomish Blues Invasion has an all-star lineup

Proceeds send the CD Woodbury Trio and the Benton-Townsend Duo to the International Blues Challenge.

Schack holiday show features Northwest watercolor artists

The free exhibit also will have three-dimensional works, such as jewelry, glass, ceramic and wood.

‘Three Billboards’ rooted in Frances McDormand’s rigid role

The actress of “Fargo” fame gives an Oscar-worthy performance in this black comedy on human nature.

‘The Hate U Give’ shows the burden of being black in America

Angie Thomas’ story of a teen girl covers the challenging experience of African Americans.

A merry Christmas concert with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

The Christian music stars will perform at Xfinity Arena with Jordan Smith of “The Voice” on Nov. 18.

‘Veep’ production postponed during Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ treatment

The 56-year-old star has been documenting her breast cancer fight on social media.

The Rucker Hill house is featured in the Twin Peaks series in Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Living happily ever after in the ‘Twin Peaks’ house

Everett homeowners snagged a role in the recent reboot of the 1990s cult classic show.

Most Read