New York Doll (Greg Whiteley) Rating: NNnN
The unlikely reunion of punk godfathers the New York Dolls for the 2004 Meltdown Festival in London was the perfect excuse for a rockumentary, but filmmaker Greg Whiteley had a better idea - uncovering the secret life of the group's MIA bassist Arthur "Killer" Kane.
From the moment we see the Dolls' once towering Adonis, now balding and hunched over, waiting for a bus to take him to the Family History Center where the born-again Mormon works "keeping copiers filled with paper," it's apparent that Kane's rock star dreams haven't worked out.
Through Kane's blankly staring eyes we get a glimpse of the less glamorous side of the Dolls' quick rise to fame and even faster descent into notoriety. Director Whiteley skilfully intercuts his candid Kane interview segments with vintage concert footage and insightful colour commentary from the Clash's Mick Jones, Chrissie Hynde, filmmaker Don Letts, various punk scenesters, Kane's childhood friends and co-workers and fellow Dolls David Johansen and Syl Sylvain.
New York Doll could've easily been a dire document of tragic loss and failure, but the film takes on a whole new dimension when Kane is confronted with the scary notion that his wish to reconnect with his estranged bandmates may come true.
Much more than your basic Behind The Music exposé, New York Doll is a bittersweet reminder of the redemptive powers of rock and roll. Wednesday (December 7), Bloor Cinema.