‘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

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Taylor Johnston waters a philodendron at her home on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Three guidebooks to help the novice houseplant gardener

Indoor plants are popular again — and we’re not talking about your grandma’s African violets.

Plant of Merit: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ Japanese aralia

What: Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata,’ or variegated Japanese aralia, is an evergreen shrub… Continue reading

Don’t call Justice Brewing owner a gypsy — he’s just ‘homeless’

After an unexpected hardship, owner Nate McLaughlin won’t be moving his brewery to downtown Everett.

A mild December makes for easy winter cleanup in the garden

If you haven’t finished your November gardening tasks, here’s a list of chores to do this month.

Beer of the Week: Justice Brewing’s Outlook F——d, Northeast IPA

The brewery’s new beer with a vulgar name is a tropical IPA that riffs off its Outlook Hazy recipe.

Yummy Banh Mi offers cheap sandwiches with rich flavor

Classic Vietnamese meets fast food at new restaurant in downtown Everett.

Could a law to bring down the mob be used in Weinstein case?

The federal anti-racketeering law was drafted to bring down organized crime but it isn’t limited to it.

This author is throwing a virtual party for book lovers

Jennifer Bardsley is hosting a Facebook get-together for young-adult book authors and readers.

Most Read