Friday, July 1, 2011
#362: Border Radio
It's impossible for me to say if the average person will like this movie. Having grown up in Los Angeles, watching Chris D and John Doe move through the east side of my city for an hour and a half is endlessly fascinating, a reward in itself regardless of the film's plot or technical prowess.
Ignoring for a moment the appeal of this setting, the movie's plot is fairly pedestrian. It centers around a local musician who disappears right as his new album is building buzz. His friends, girlfriend, and apparently an unidentified film crew attempt to track him down. None of the performances are especially convincing and the grainy and rudimentary cinematography gives the film away as a low budget indie for the 1980s.
However, the music is spectacular and the film manages to keep its story fresh without really having much of one. Border Radio is more notable as a document of the mid-80s indie scene than it is as a work of narrative cinema - and I'd much rather watch a film like Mala Noche - but as a pure viewing experience the film drew me in because it was so evocative of my childhood and unique in its depiction of a city that has probably been featured in more films than any other.