Evaluation: ‘Moby Doc’ charts heights and lows of the DJ/musician, even when they’re cringe-inducing
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The particular musician Richard Melville Area — better known as Moby — was at the peak of his popularity between 1999 and 2002, when his groundbreaking electronica albums “Play” and “18” offered millions, spawning hits that were licensed freely to films, TV shows and commercials. Moby’s sales have since fallen off but he’s continuing to follow his own quirky day job; and as he’s moved into their 50s he’s begun showing on his past, writing a memoir and even rerecording several old songs with clean arrangements for his brand-new album, “Reprise. ”
This is all section of the context for “Moby Doc, ” a biographical film directed and edited by Rob Gordon Bralver, plus conceived and written by Bralver with Moby. The DISC JOCKEY and composer narrates his own story while also participating in the puckish animated interludes and surreal reenactments meant to connect the archival video footage, forging a larger commentary at the perils of massive fame.
Bralver and Moby’s approach is, to say the least, self-indulgent. Some of their experiments in offbeat, tongue-in-cheek storytelling come off as way too glib, turning subjects like addiction and committing suicide into cringe-inducing attempts from alt-comedy. Yet there’s still something inspiring about Moby’s all-too-familiar tale of ascension, decline and redemption — especially since the artist did it twice.
The very first half of “Moby Doc” addresses his troubled childhood and his years of scraping by in poverty, before a handful of innovative singles like “Go” and “Feeling So Real” propelled him to the top of the dancing music scene. Substance abuse plus erratic behavior then nearly scuttled Moby’s career, till he broke into the popular with the mega-popular “Play, ” marrying techno with old folk and gospel samples.
Anyone searching for details about Moby’s inspirations plus process when recording “Play” has come to the wrong movie. This individual doesn’t spend a lot of time on his actual work here. Rather, he talks about how a level-jump in fame and fortune left him feeling spiritually empty and paranoid, and exactly how he recovered by communing with nature and being a tireless activist for pet rights.
Nevertheless, for all its questionable creative choices, “Moby Doc” are at least more personal and daring than the typical songs documentary. This is the movie comparative of Moby’s discography, along with highs and lows linked directly to its creator’s own embarrassing slip-ups and sublime moments of grace.
Running period: 1 hour, 32 minutes
Playing: Begins May 28, Landmark Nuart, West L. A., and VOD; June 4, Laemmle theaters and Laemmle Virtual Cinema