JERRY LEE LEWIS: TROUBLE IN MIND
(director/writer: Ethan Coen; cinematographer: Tricia Anne Cooke; editor: Tricia Anne Cooke; music: Jerry Lee Lewis; cast: Jerry Lee Lewis; Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Peter Afterman/Steve Bing/T Bone Burnett/Mick Jagger/Victoria Pearman; A24; 2022)
“This film does no probing. It just plays out as a goofy fun film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The rocker music doc is on the 86-year-old survivor Jerry Lee Lewis (getting through multiple marriages plus drink and drug abuse issues). The easy watch lightweight film tells the story of the singer who was raised by a religious family in rural Louisiana (one of his many cousins is the televangelist Jimmy Swaggart). In the 1950s, when he was 22 he shockingly married his 13-year-old cousin.
The film is modestly written and directed by Ethan Coen, and was photographed and edited by his wife Tricia Anne Cooke. It’s the first-time that Ethan goes solo from his brother Joel.
The cocky rocker narrates his own story and thereby gives it an aura of authenticity, as archive footage of his music and interviews throughout the years fill the screen.
The limited pic on its controversial and charismatic singer does the job as it just leaves the camera on him and films. We also take note how the ‘wild man’ later on re-invents himself as a country and gospel act (even gets into the Country Music Hall of Fame).
Lewis was noted in the 1950s for his Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On and Great Balls of Fire, which brings back memories when a bustling rock music changed the pop music world.
This film does no probing. It just plays out as a goofy fun film, like it or not.
It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 7/9/2022 GRADE: B-