A film review by Christopher Null - Copyright © 2001 filmcritic.com
Dov Kelemer's look into an aspiring rock band in the L.A. music scene
is as stomach turning as a movie can get without showing any blood and
Instead, the blood and guts can be found in the eyes of the six
members of the-band-you've-never-heard-of NC-17, a sort-of harmonized
post-grunge combo with a violinist and a gravelly-voiced lead singer.
Having moved from rural Michigan to Los Angeles based on the promise
of a record deal, brothers Frank and Vince Rogala and Robin Canada
(then known as Exude) thought everything was going their way. Said
record deal evaporated, though, and the band found itself more unknown
than ever. Ten years later, they're still at it, now with five
members (including the violin), a new name, and nothing to show for a
decade of work.
Documentary film doesn't get more desperate than this. As Kelemer put
in an introductory note to me, "it is similar to Hoop
Dreams... and it is Leaving
Las Vegas depressing.... Hopefully... you won't shoot yourself
after watching it." I didn't, but I wanted to. As a writer, I
know rejection, for sure. But the career of musician is undoubtedly
the worst when it comes to an utter lack of recognition for your work,
ranking below independent filmmaker and aspiring actor.
The members of NC-17 face everything from estranged wives and uncaring
A&R reps to greedy concert promoters and IRS audits. And Kelemer's
got it all on film. It's a truly unforgettable movie, light-hearted at
times, but devastating on the whole. While the film has its flaws (some scenes that tend to repeat material too
much), Won't Anybody Listen is a picture that any fan of
documentary will adore. And if you think you know what went into that
$16 compact disc, just you wait....