Even Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie can’t save Bobcaygeon.
BOBCAYGEON (Andy Keen). 100 minutes. Opens Friday (November 16) at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. For Times, see Movies. Rating: NN
Before all the Tragically Hip fans go ballistic on me for not loving this documentary about their heroes' 2011 concert in the Ontario cottage country town of Bobcaygeon, note that the rating's for the movie, not the band.
Director Andy Keen tracks plans for the big outdoor show, the stage set-up and Hip fanatics' excitement, but the film falls flat for several reasons.
First, although the Hip's admirers are passionate and have the tats to prove it, despite their obsessions, they're deadly dull. The film Woodstock works because it documents a major movement burgeoning before our eyes. If there's any social meaning to the Hip's success, we don't learn about it here. Worse, the doc tells us nothing about the group, their internal dynamics or their relationships.
There's a flicker of edge during a town meeting when a local club owner conflicts with the concert promoter. And a funny scene shows lead singer Gord Downie drinking out of a miniature Stanley Cup. But the doc doesn't find any energy until one hour in, when the band takes the stage. Downie is one of rock's most charismatic performers, and there's an emotional charge come the payoff, when the Hip sing their song Bobcaygeon.
Hip lovers won't be able to resist. Anyone else will not see the point.