Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage

Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn

BY Keith CarmanPublished Jun 10, 2010

Congratulations, Banger Films. Thanks to your dedication, creativity and drive, you've made the nerdiest of rock bands cool.

In their latest full-length documentary feature, revered filmmakers Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn (the Banger Films duo responsible for heavy music flicks Metal: A Headbanger's Journey and Global Metal) turn their cameras on the self-admitted "biggest cult band in the world": Rush, an act requiring no real introduction. One would almost assume that anyone earning permanent Canadian residency must either recite lines from "Closer To The Heart" or re-enact the "Tom Sawyer" drum solo.

Don't snicker. During this insightful exploration of what has made, and kept, Rush the third-largest band in the world, with the longest-lasting line-up (42 years and counting), we're treated to pure fan-boy moments from the likes of Billy Corgan, Kirk Hammett, Trent Reznor, Jack Black and more relating their personal Rush moments.

As expected, Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage focuses primarily on Rush the band, not their parts: Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee and Neil Peart. Having a life of their own with enough ups and downs to keep us riveted, McFadyen and Dunn prefer to stick to the (obvious) essentials, such as formation, early years, vying for autonomy and their ensuing eons of the same, resulting in an enviable legacy.

Essentially, while Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage is interesting and informative in its chronological account, one must keep in mind that as the typically polite Canadian reputation asserts, Rush have never been an explosive, gossip-generating band. Yes, they've certainly found themselves in such instances, but those moments are so inconsequential to the band's success that they almost aren't worthy of mention.

To that extent, Banger Films reveal the Rush saga with their inimitable style via an adoring, albeit exploratory, eye only true fans can muster, complete with amusing personal and archival footage. Still, while the flick could use a bit more unearthing of Rush's personal lives, McFadyen and Dunn understand that anyone watching a film on Rush most likely knows most of the sordid details and/or is unconcerned with anything other than the music.

Instead, focus is cast on what has made and kept this power trio so, well, powerful for 19 full-length albums and the aforementioned decades. At that, it is virtually perfect, following the band's story arc: from each member's earliest life moments through to the present renewed interest in all things Rush.

More importantly, there is enough in here to keep the pundits' partners ― those who couldn't find an escape route from this in-depth geek-fest ― amused.

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