The film ends with Knight being honored for his decades of work and being feted by Slash, the guitarist from Guns-N-Roses and Velvet Revolver. It's a nice contrast to such dour rock documentary as that seen in The Mayor Of The Sunset Strip, wherein another middle aged hanger-on to the stars is featured. In that film, the main subject is a deluded and sad DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer, barely clinging on to fame, and whose life is portrayed as lonely and sad, and he, too, has to deal with an aging and dying mother. But that film is more predictable, and plays off of stereotypes that it almost goes out of the way to embody. By contrast, this film does not do that, even though, in an online interview director Chester claims he had so much footage he could have made another film; one wherein Knight's obsessions with UFOs and conspiracies (augmented with footage of Knight at the infamous Area 51 at Groom Lake, Nevada) could have been the focus. I, however, am glad the film did not go there. First, it would have made Knight look wackier than he already is- an old man still going to rock concerts. Second, it would have just fed the same sorts of stereotypes that abound about obsessive folks, and those involved in the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyle, as total lunatics. The emphasis on a son's desire to care for his mother, and seeing footage of the two of them together, is far more powerful, especially when seeing how contently oblivious his mother is. Alzheimer's is a disease that does not pain, only destroys.
Having said that, Knight is a bit of an oddball, as he recounts the last day of his friend Stevie Ray Vaughn's life, in 1990, before the famed guitar hero died in a plane crash: 'If anything ever happens, you'll know me when you hear me.' Hence, Knight's pursuit of the gifted Tyler Dow Bryant, who, himself, longs to be the greatest guitarist that ever lived. But, he's still several steps above Rodney Bingenheimer, or any of the other social misfits that populate typical rock documentaries, and which were so brilliantly skewered in Rob Reiner's This Is Spinal Tap. Other musicians that appear and/or are interviewed in the film include Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, Steve Vai, Carlos Santana, ZZ Top, Def Leppard, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Joe Bonamassa. The film is a straightforward look at the life and dilemma that befalls Knight, so don't expect any great cinematography, not editing tricks. Do expect a satisfying look into the rock world, but an even more interesting look away into the real world at its edges. Robert Knight is not a great photographer, but he is an interesting human being, and this film's success relies on the latter, because the former, while it might be interesting to learn the finer points of the craft, would likely have been an exercise in tedium. What this film gives us is the medium. And with that you get the man.
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