‘Once Were Brothers’ Review: A Straightforward Look at Music Legend Robbie Robertson [TIFF 2019]

/Film | 9/6/2019 | Jason Gorber
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There has been a recent spate of documentaries from the survivors of the 60s, those artists that manage to outlive and outlast many of their colleagues and collaborators, resulting in decades of music making. The latest, Once Were Brothers, draws from Robbie Robertson’s story, a unique narrative where a half-native kid from Toronto became the center of a movement that birthed Americana.

Robertson’s rise from at the age of 15 convincing Ronnie Hawkins to record his songs (and eventually employ him), through his days touring behind Bob Dylan and the eventual formation of The Band, occupy the majority of this well-realized if slightly hagiographic doc. The perspective is clear – this is Robbie’s telling of Robbie’s story – and thus those with whom there were massive disagreements (his bandmates in particular) have their negativity contextualized in a particular way.

Springsteen - Clapton - Scorsese - Repeat - Stories

Springsteen, Clapton and Scorsese repeat stories they’ve told many times, but their inclusion is no less impactful. Daniel Roher’s film is handsomely shot and well-paced, using a syncopated editing rhythm that easily could have been hokey but somehow manages to work within context. It’s only in contrast to a film from earlier this year, the exceptional David Crosby doc...
(Excerpt) Read more at: /Film
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