By Don Simpson | April 23, 2012
Director: Antonino D’Ambrosio
Let me begin by stating that one of my least favorite forms of documentary filmmaking is what I derogatorily refer to as the soundbite collage — and Antonino D’Ambrosio’s 90-minute documentary featuring 50 interview subjects is precisely that. Some of the subjects of D’Ambrosio’s Let Fury Have the Hour are featured multiple times, but none of them are given much time to really explain anything; their sound bites are whittled down to philosophical quotes about creative art forms working in unison to promote change.
That is not to say that what is said is not interesting, because it really is. Let Fury Have the Hour is perfectly in line with my way of thinking, and the documentary features several creative activists whom I truly respect and admire (Billy Bragg, John Sayles, Shepard Fairey, Chuck D., Lewis Black, Wayne Kramer, Ian MacKaye); so it is difficult for me to fault the documentary too much. Peace, equality, individuality, freedom of expression, the motivational power of all forms of art…they are all great messages. It is just that I do not enjoy watching the way the documentary conveys the messages — that does not make it a bad documentary, just one that is not inline with my personal preferences.
The only real critical problem with Let Fury Have the Hour is that it seems too misguided and multidimensional. The documentary begins with a discussion of the ways in which Reaganism and Thatcherism prompted a counter-revolutionary movement in the art world — which is what I thought the documentary was about — but that thread is dropped fairly quickly and the film goes every which way but forward from there. So, rather than being a focused rumination on a specific period or style, Let Fury Have the Hour opts to become incredibly general; almost as if D’Ambrosio shaped the documentary around the interviews that he collected.