Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man Lian Lunson

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man is a comprehensive gaze at the man behind the smouldering words and music. Interspersed with an all-star concert held at Sydney’s Opera House, this film tackles his music through a tribute featuring the likes of inspired artists like Nick Cave, Antony, Beth Orton, Jarvis Cocker and Rufus and Martha Wainwright, among others. Some artists stand out more than others: Antony blows the roof off and Cave has fun as a crooner, but Martha Wainwright evokes the spirit of an irritating, mad cat lady. Furthermore, his followers are grilled on the man’s importance, which turns into a hero-worship session by Bono and the Edge (who also appear later in the film with U2 backing Cohen on a pointless bar rendition of "Tower of Song,” a cheap ploy to boost the star power). The performances though are only a distraction — the meat here is the in-depth discussions with Cohen, who lets director Lunson into his soul. Candidly, he tells of his various periods and their inspirations, including his raunchy NYC days and 30-year stint as a Buddhist monk, while footage of his colourful life and various paintings/sketches grace the screen. Part of me wishes this film was just 90 minutes of Cohen telling his story in that seductive tone, because. I’m Your Man is a little too busy for its own good. The music is a necessity, but I can’t help feeling that the film would have worked more in chapters. In her commentary, Lunson appears overwhelmed with delight, like a kid at Christmas, which makes for a nice, warm feature. "A Conversation with Leonard Cohen” is a brief but worthwhile chat with the man leftover from the film’s interview portions. Additional performances by Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson, the Handsome Family and Perla Batalla are featured but it would have been nice to have the complete concert available to absorb as a whole.