“Time is elastic,” asserts Aussie maverick Nick Cave. “We can go away from the event but at some point the elastic snaps and we always come back to it.” Cave is no stranger to heartache - they don't call him the Prince Of Darkness for nothing - but was struck particularly hard by the July 2015 death of teenage son Arthur. This tragedy is the centre point of Andrew Dominik’s monochrome 3D documentary, One More Time With Feeling.
At times, One More Time... feels similar to the electrifying docu-biopic 20,000 Days on Earth, which chronicled Cave during the recording of his previous studio album Push the Sky Away. Dominick’s approach differs slightly, however. With beautiful cinematography by Benoît Debie and Alwin H. Küchler, for once 3D doesn't feel like a gimmick, but instead remarkably compliments the brooding atmosphere, drawing the viewer ever closer into situations brimming with grief.
“Most of us don’t want to change, really. I mean, why should we?” We hear Cave narrate over sleepy images of the London recording studio and Brighton seafront where he and the Bad Seeds record eerie new album The Skeleton Tree. Dominik teases out bitter and frank views about the nature of mortality from Cave and his long time collaborator Warren Ellis (Ellis and Cave previous collaborated with Dominik on The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).
Dominik’s devil-may-care approach to documentary filmmaking was an interesting choice as One More Time... deceptively looks to be a promo reel for the new LP. However, something more lurks beneath the surface. His experimental approach with implementing 3D could seem an odd choice to some, however I enjoyed Dominik’s sense of gothic grandeur. Whilst other filmmakers could have kept it simple with talking heads and a track or two, Dominik is experimenting with the medium in a captivating way. In a sense, the experimental approach he employs is a natural step, as everyone involved appears to be navigating new territory.
Among the candid interviews and moody recording sessions, Dominik takes audiences around the studio, the sleeping streets of Brighton- and even to outer space. One More Time... is an ambitious project mired in grief. As a fan of both Nick Cave and Andrew Dominik, my expectations were set pretty high. Overall, I enjoyed this deeply personal insight into one of the preeminent artists recording today. Some viewers may not know or enjoy Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ back catalogue or may lose interest with the insular, bordering on naval gazing, nature of the film. But as musicians appear to make important contributions to film more and more, from Beyoncé’s Lemonade to Frank Ocean’s Endless, Cave and Dominik's feature feels like vital yet hard wrought contribution.
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