Tribeca 2022: Angelheaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan & T. Rex

Directed by: Ethan Silverman
Distributed by: TBA

Written by Alexander Reams


The music of Marc Bolan and T.Rex as a whole was unknown to me until 2017 when Edgar Wright featured one of their songs very prominently in his film “Baby Driver.” Specifically the song “Debora,” and while I did love the song on first listen and still love it, their sound as a whole never clicked for me, but that didn’t sideline my excitement to watch a documentary showcasing one of the trailblazers of the pop-music world. Their influence in the genre cannot be overstated, the sound of the vocals, and the way the band as a whole contorted instruments to make new and strange sounds. Unfortunately, their mysticism largely failed to translate over in this documentary by Ethan Silverman, in his feature debut. This isn’t Silverman’s first time in the music or documentary world as he has made a music video before and directed a few documentary shorts. While I am glad he got this opportunity, I don’t feel like he captured what he felt like he was hoping to at the moment. 

Silverman relies on a standard documentary trope, the talking head. While he did get some very notable people, Elton John, Nick Cave, U2, and Ringo Starr, just to name a few, these people are all legends in their own right. Still, all of their interviews felt flat, similar to Anthony Hopkins in “Transformers: The Last Knight” (or as I call it Transformers: Please God Be The Last), they are there for the paycheck, nothing more, and I feel that falls on the director, for not going after the right people, or not engaging with the artists in the right way. This left me with a very sour taste in my mouth after each interview. Silverman may not know how to film interviews the best, but the part where he succeeds is the performances, expertly cutting the shows together to make them very coherent for the viewer, which unfortunately affected the pacing, the interviews, and talking heads drug on, while the concert scenes flew by. Unfortunately, I feel Silverman did not serve the subject properly but it did make this writer glad that people are still thinking about Marc Bolan and T.Rex.

“Angelheaded Hipster” was screened as part of the 2022 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

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