American Hardcore Paul Rachman

American Hardcore Paul Rachman
Inspired by author Stephen Blush’s book of the same name, American Hardcore documents the origins of the hardcore punk movement — one of music’s brashest, most expedient and underrated blips, roughly gauged between 1980 and 1986 — via interviews with scene heavyweights, including members of D.O.A., Minor Threat, Black Flag, Dag Nasty, Bad Brains, Agnostic Front, T.S.O.L. as well as photographers, fans, magazine creators and more. As quick-paced and energetic as its subject matter, the film strives to unravel just what instigated punk rock’s louder, more confrontational brother. American Hardcore is quite interesting if one can get past the fact that many of these folks are covering well-tread ground. The strong use of timely imagery and unearthed footage is well done, accenting tales, memories and opinions put forth by the knowledgeable subjects. To that, however, most interviewees tend to come across as too nostalgic at times, exaggerating the poignancy of the whole deal. Not to mention that if one is poking holes, a list of bands the film forgets could easily be compiled. Naturally, Rachman can’t touch on it all in 100 minutes and he does well with what he’s got. Henry Rollins is one of the film’s more endearing sorts; his generally obnoxious manner is peeled away as he sincerely recollects the times instead of blabbing pointlessly. He’s one of few (along with Bad Brains’ H.R.) who finitely stresses that those days are long gone. Compiling little more than an hour’s worth of throwaway interview snippets and minimal live footage that fails to equal what’s used in the film, bonus features here are the stuff words such as "scrounging” were made for. However, with the strength of its convictions, detail in touching on most areas of the scene — popular or forgotten — and stellar soundtrack, American Hardcore may not be definitive but it is most certainly compelling. (Sony)