RUMBLE: THE INDIANS WHO ROCKED THE WORLD
(director/writer: Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana; cinematographer: Alfonso Maiorana; editors: Benjamin Duffield/Jeremiah Hayes; music: Benoît Charest; Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Jake Kent/Lisa M. Roth/Claire Mackinnon/Linda Luwick; Rezolution Pictures/Kino Lorber; 2017-in Portuguese & English with English subtitles when needed)
“The conventional but insightful musical history film is at best when the music plays, but falters when the talking heads take over.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Catherine Bainbridge (“Smoke Traders”) co-directs with the Canadian filmmaker Alfonso Maiorana, in her directorial debut, this rousing documentary that pays tribute to the Native American singers, songwriters, and musicians who have made pioneering contributions to folk, the blues and rock music history.
“Rumble” begins with a 1958 instrumental rock piece by American Indian rock guitarist and singer Link Wray. His revolutionary music introduced the rock power-chord and the use of distortion and feedback. Other musical icons of Indian heritage who paved the way into the future of pop and rock music with indigenous shadings are the father of Delta Blues Charley Patton, the innovative jazz singer Mildred Bailey, the great electric guitarist and singer Jimi Hendrix, the socially radical folk music singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie, the song/writer/guitarist leader of the Band Robbie Robertson and blues guitarist Jessie Ed Davis.The film mixes archival footage of varied guitarists, from clean-cut ‘50s types to hipster rockers of the ’70s, as it tells how the government during those times still felt threatened by the Indians and bans their music.
The conventional but insightful musical history film is at best when the music plays, but falters when the talking heads take over. The film is dedicated to the late Santee Dakota poet, musician and Indian activist John Trudell.
REVIEWED ON 1/31/2018 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/