Featuring: Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Earl Cave, Andrew Dominik, Marianne Faithful
Directed by Andrew Dominik
Though the story of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’s dynamic relationship may not be one familiar to too many people, the echoes of their influence reverberates out to a greater number than many may realise – whether that be through the haunting performance from Cave and his band, ‘The Bad Seeds’, on tracks such as ‘Red Right Hand’ and ‘O Children’, popularised by Peaky Blinders and Harry Potter respectively, or the Cave and Ellis collaborative effort which brought to life the scores of films such as ‘The Assassination of Jesse James..’, ‘The Road’ and ‘Wind River’ to name a few.
So within this intriguing context – what is the story of ‘This Much I Know to Be True’? Sadly, it’s one born of tragedy, as the narrative documents Nick Cave’s grief-stricken attempts to find some consolation through art after the death of his son, Arthur, six years prior. From purely a listeners’ perspective, the fallout being three of perhaps the greatest art rock/chamber pop albums released this side of the millennium.
Cave and Ellis may appear as if they’ve only recently stumbled out of some desolate Aussie landscape and only vaguely attempted to meet any societal norm – but this unorthodox perspective on life has culminated in some truly beautiful music, which the two perform throughout the documentary whilst accompanied by mesmerising lighting setups and captivating camera movements led by director Andrew Dominik (Assassination of Jesse James, Killing Them Softly, Blonde).
It would be wrong to say that this is a film for the average movie-goer, as at least a vague familiarity with these artists’ work allows for an even greater appreciation of what’s being presented here. However, the brilliance of the performances on display is perhaps matched only in quality by the dynamic and exciting visuals, culminating in something which, for me, became one of the most impactful cinema experiences so far this year. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis are endlessly watchable, both as tirelessly entertaining friends, and genius’s at play.
Even if you only know the voice of Cave through his dramatic ‘Red Right Hand’ performance, or the haunting charm of his ‘O Children’ accompaniment to Harry and Hermione’s waltz in the penultimate Harry Potter film, I would highly recommend taking up any opportunity to see this film. Like D.A. Pennebaker’s ‘Don’t Look Back’ chasing after the unstoppable Bob Dylan of the mid-60’s, or Peter Jackson’s recent revitalisation of a Beatles teetering on the brink of collapse in last years ‘Get Back’, it’s not often you get to witness the whirring cogs of a working genius up close and personal, but ‘This Much I Know to Be True’ gives us this chance once again.