The final time filmmaker Andrew Dominik (The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford) collaborated with Nick Cave, on 2016’s One Extra Time With Feeling, the recording of Cave’s sixteenth LP Skeleton Tree offered the framework for a uncooked, monochromatic exploration of grief as Cave reeled from the tragic dying of his son Arthur. 5 years and a pandemic later, the pair have reunited for a lovingly crafted, rapturous music documentary-cum-concert movie that transcends grief, isolation and Covid to seize the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel. Releasing simply days after the surprising passing of Cave’s 30 12 months outdated son Jethro Lazenby, the movie’s heat and light solely feels all of the extra well timed because it seeks to deliver consolation to viewers. Hopefully in time, it would do the identical for Cave too.
The music is the principle occasion right here, and it doesn’t disappoint. Buying and selling the recording studio for a sparsely set, high-walled warehouse bathed in beatific gentle, Dominik provides us front-row seats to easily staged but immersive performances from 2019 Dangerous Seeds masterpiece Ghosteen and 2021’s lockdown-reflective Warren Ellis team-up Carnage. Two cameras set in a round dolly-track hypnotically loop round Cave, Ellis and a small set of backing musicians as shiny, dancing lights visualise the spirits their ethereal rock conjures. Director of images Robbie Ryan, working with a soothing palette of silvers and greens, evokes awe and creates intimacy with deft aspect-ratio shifts and ingenious framing. Cameras swirl euphorically across the anthemic ‘Ghosteen Speaks’ and pull in shut for Cave’s fragile falsetto on ‘Hollywood’, permitting the shamanic rocker to carry us within the palm of his hand.
Candid interviews with Cave and Ellis see Dominik checking in with the duo, illuminating their distinctive dynamic within the course of.
Away from the grand piano and synthesisers, candid interviews with Cave and Ellis see Dominik checking in with the duo, illuminating their distinctive dynamic within the course of. Early on, Cave talks by a sequence of haunting ceramic sculptures he’s made throughout lockdown that depict Devil’s life, dying and — symbolically, you’re feeling — forgiveness. Later, he digs into questions followers have despatched into his Crimson Hand Recordsdata web site, a self-described “non secular apply” that retains him “on the higher finish of [his] nature”, with a consideration and profound knowledge that creates the sense of a person at peace together with his loss and life’s unavoidable chaos. Ellis, however — whose man-of-the-woods look betrays an angelic voice and virtuosic musicianship that Cave believes evokes his greatest work — is chaos personified. Whereas it will’ve been good to see extra of him right here, a glimpse inside Ellis’ messy flat, Dominik’s shocked, “Holy shit!” upon noticing his rammed desktop, and the delight of his Emily Dickinson Herbarium facsimile provide flashes of perception right into a singular artistic thoughts.
The movie climaxes with a triumphant rendition of quarantine ballad ‘Balcony Man’. “This morning is wonderful and so are you,” Cave jubilantly croons, golden gentle shining on him and his collaborators. Having beforehand witnessed his darkish evening of the soul, and with the world experiencing its personal proper now, Cave’s parting message is certainly one of profound hope to hold forwards by these unsure occasions.