MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 25,472 this week

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007)

7.7
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,616 users   Metascore: 79/100
Reviews: 17 user | 43 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

As the front man of the Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ... See full summary »

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 29 titles
created 04 Apr 2012
 
a list of 48 titles
created 09 Jun 2012
 
a list of 27 titles
created 14 Nov 2012
 
a list of 28 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 33 titles
created 4 weeks ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007)

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten (2007) on IMDb 7.7/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten.
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez.

Director: Malik Bendjelloul
Stars: Rodriguez, Stephen 'Sugar' Segerman, Dennis Coffey
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Film-maker Werner Herzog travels to the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, looking to capture the continent's beauty and investigate the characters living there.

Director: Werner Herzog
Stars: Werner Herzog, Scott Rowland, Stefan Pashov
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary on Al Gore's campaign to make the issue of global warming a recognized problem worldwide.

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Stars: Al Gore, Billy West, George Bush
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An examination of the social costs of corporate interests pursuing profits at the expense of the public good.

Director: Michael Moore
Stars: Michael Moore, Thora Birch, William Black
The Cove (2009)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.

Director: Louie Psihoyos
Stars: Richard O'Barry, Louie Psihoyos, Hardy Jones
Inside Job (2010)
Documentary | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown.

Director: Charles Ferguson
Stars: Matt Damon, William Ackman, Daniel Alpert
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Kirby Dick's exposé about the American movie ratings board.

Director: Kirby Dick
Stars: Kirby Dick, Kimberly Peirce, Darren Aronofsky
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Inter-cut with archive material, friends, family and associates of the musician tell the story of his life and how spirituality became such a major part of it.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, John Lennon
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A documentary about the Enron corporation, its faulty and corrupt business practices, and how they led to its fall.

Director: Alex Gibney
Stars: John Beard, Tim Belden, Barbara Boxer
Spellbound (2002)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Spellbound follows eight teenagers on their quest to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee.

Director: Jeffrey Blitz
Stars: Angela Arenivar, Ubaldo Arenivar, Jorge Arenivar
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Directors: Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Terry Gilliam's doomed attempt to get his film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, off the ground.

Directors: Keith Fulton, Louis Pepe
Stars: Terry Gilliam, Johnny Depp, Jeff Bridges
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Herself (archive footage)
...
Himself
...
Himself
Terry Chimes ...
Himself
John Cooper Clarke ...
Himself
...
Himself
...
Winston Smith (archive footage)
...
Himself
...
Himself
Tymon Dogg ...
Himself
Joe Ely ...
Himself
Dick Evans ...
Himself
...
Himself
Alasdair Gillis ...
Himself
Ian Gillis ...
Himself
Edit

Storyline

As the front man of the Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ever before. In "The Future Is Unwritten", from British film director Julien Temple, Joe Strummer is revealed not just as a legend or musician, but as a true communicator of our times. Drawing on both a shared punk history and the close personal friendship which developed over the last years of Joe's life, Julien Temple's film is a celebration of Joe Strummer - before, during and after the Clash. Written by IFC First Take

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A celebration of Joe Strummer - Before, during and after The Clash


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

18 May 2007 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$52,751 (USA) (2 November 2007)

Gross:

$248,182 (USA) (25 January 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

See  »
Edit

Did You Know?


Soundtracks

Shake Your Hips
Performed by The 101'ers
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
affectionate and revealing documentary
25 October 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

On December 22, 2002, at the ripe young age of 50, John Graham Mellor - better known as Joe Strummer, co-founder, lyricist, rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the group The Clash - died, rather prosaically, of a heart attack. I say "prosaically" because one would reasonably have envisioned a somewhat more "exotic" and "respectable" end for a punk rock artist of Joe Strummer's caliber. Yet, perhaps it's not quite so strange after all, for like many of his musical contemporaries, Strummer lived his life in the fast lane, perhaps burning so intensely for such a brief period of time that his battered and overstretched heart simply couldn't keep up with all the demands placed on it after awhile (actually, we're told he suffered from a congenital heart condition of which he had no knowledge and which could have taken his life at any time).

Whatever the cause of his demise, the documentary "Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten" provides a compelling and really quite exhaustive look into the life and career of this punk music legend. The movie starts at the beginning with Mellor's birth in Ankara, Turkey, to a father who was a British diplomat and a mother who was a nurse. He had a generally unhappy childhood, being whisked from one country to another before eventually being deposited in a British boarding school, seeing very little of his parents during the seven year period in which they were living abroad.

The movie then goes on to chronicle the death of his older brother by suicide; Mellor's enrollment in art college (where he changed his name to Woody and formed his first band, The Vultures); his time living as a squator in some abandoned row houses in West London with a group of fellow musicians with whom he formed his second band, the 101's; and his eventual turning away from Rockabilly and towards punk when The Sex Pistols opened for his group one night and forever altered Mellor's view of what music could be and do. By this time he had already changed his name a second time - now he was to be known as Joe Strummer - and had become extremely adept at writing lyrics and playing rhythm guitar.

It was at this point in 1976 that he essentially abandoned his former friends and hooked up with Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Nicky Headon to form the band The Clash. The film then records the rise of that group, emphasizing the driving energy and social commentary of its music, as Strummer, through his lyrics, boldly took on the political and military establishment, decrying civil injustice and examining the very nature of authority itself. In fact, the movie makes it clear that the punk movement itself represented a revolt not just against society as a whole but against previous styles of music and fashion - and even one's old friends and way of life, including, in Strummer's case, his pre-Clash band mates, many of whom agreed to be interviewed for this film.

In the latter stages, the movie explores the paradox of success and celebrity, especially for performers who base their art on railing against the very things they find themselves endorsing in the end: namely, conformity, commercialism, fame and self-indulgence. For The Clash this was exemplified by the "sellouts" of going to America, of achieving international acclaim with their 1979 album "London Calling," and of writing "hit" songs (most notably, of course, "Rock the Casbah"). This accelerating artistic ambiguity led to increased personal tension among the members of the band and the eventual dissolution of the group. Towards the end of his life, Joe turned to marriage and fatherhood and a career in the film industry both as an actor and a composer. But any attempt to revive his career as a singer, at least at first, ended in failure - some would suggest a failure largely calculated and imposed by the man himself. Yet, in his final years, a much more tranquil and mellow Joe began to emerge, managing to make "peace" between the hippies and the punkers by establishing outdoor music fests - affectionately labeled "Joe's Campfires" - to help bridge the gap. And, as an appropriate finale to his life, he embarked on a well-received tour with his last band, The Mescaleros.

Director Julien Temple has put together a surprisingly dense and visually imaginative film, one that is heavily reflective of the turbulent times in which it is set. In addition to interviews with former lovers and friends of Strummer, the movie provides generous helpings of file footage and home movies, as well as clips from films like "If…," "Animal Farm," "1984," etc. whose subject matters parallel elements of Joe's life and the era in which he lived. Temple also frequently interjects into the narrative animated versions of cartoons Joe himself drew over the years. Moreover, a number of familiar faces - Bono, Matt Dillon, Steve Buscemi, John Cusack, Jim Jarmusch, Courtney Love (who appeared with Strummer in the movie "Straight to Hell"), even Johnny Depp in full Jack Sparrow regalia - stop by to throw their two-cents-worth in as to how profoundly they were influenced by Joe and the music of the Clash. And, of course, above it all there is the music…

But the true coup here is getting Joe himself to comment posthumously on his own life, thanks to the ready availability of interviews he gave at crucial moments during his career. This allows us to hear the man relate his own story in his own words. It may be a story that ends sadly, but not before Joe seems to find some genuine peace in his life. And, seriously, how many documentaries about a rock star can one say THAT about?


8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This movie taught me that Joe was a poseur pcal43
Anyone else bothered by no IDs for interview subjects? GidJ
Fantastic Film, EXCEPT FOR..... thatcharmingman
Canada release? djm277
Did anyone else think this was terrible? eternalbadluckcharm
Best film in history steve-2127

Contribute to This Page