Starting with the image of a tour bus warming its engine in the stillness of an empty lot, this haunting, personal portrait of music legend Levon Helm evokes the mood of a lifetime spent on the road. Jacob Hatley's extraordinarily intimate documentary finds Helm, a founding member of The Band, at home in Woodstock in the midst of creating his first studio album in 25 years. The ultimate survivor, he's overcome drugs, bankruptcy, the bitter breakup of The Band and a bout of throat cancer -but then, as the rueful title indicates, he wasn't in it for his health.Written by
Los Angeles Film Festival
Ain't in It for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm (2010)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
Very good documentary taking a brief look at the life and career of Levon Helm, the man best remembered for his days with The Band. The documentary starts off in 2008 just as Helm learns that The Band is getting a lifetime achievement award and we see and hear from the music legend about his days in the group as well as a variety of other subjects. AIN'T IN IT FOR MY HEALTH is without question a highly entertaining film but if you're coming to it expecting some trash slinging then you're going to be disappointed. With the break-up of The Band is discussed briefly, those expecting to hear Helm slam Robbie Robertson are going to be disappointed. Actually I'm somewhat glad that the film didn't turn into a mud slinging contest because as it is the thing is pretty darn special. I obviously can't speak for the director but the point of the film just seemed to be that Helm, a legend, was pretty much your average Joe as he likes to watch Westerns, tell funny stories, smoke, drink and then there's the playing music. I really loved the Southern feel to the entire film because it really does seem as if you're getting a true and honest look at Helm who seems to be enjoying life even through some of the darker moments in the film. Some of these moments include him losing his voice at the start of a concert as well as discussion about his throat cancer. I think fans of The Band or Helm are really going to enjoy this behind-the-scenes look at his, which includes plenty of concert footage, Helm just kicking around at his house and also some sessions of Larry Campbell as they work on a song for a Hank Williams tribute.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this