Framed by core interviews conducted by Cameron Crowe (director of ALMOST FAMOUS who won an Oscar for the script of the film, and who did his first interview with him way back when he was a young teen of 16), this doc follows the life, aspirations, hopes and regrets of singer/songwriter/musician David Crosby. Crosby now in his 70’s has performed solo as well as in super bands, The Byrds; Crosby, Stills & Nash; and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
The doc is directed by Eaton, not Crowe, who steers his story of Crosby in chronological order unfolding it as if be a fiction film. Crowe is never seen on screen though his voice heard. Crowe does not appear to steer the film in any direction. Instead he asks silly questions such as if he (Crosby) were to give up music or his family (wife and sons) what would his choice be. The question is not only nonsensical as Crosby politely states as he would never come to a state where he would have to make this decision and if so, any musician would ultimate cost music as the answer.
Crosby, now in the 70’s has survived several heart attacks and drug overdoses and currently suffers from several ailments including diabetes He reminisces his life..
The film revisits David Crosby’s life, from the heady days in ’60s LA to the present time when he’s enjoying a rebirth of creativity, despite his past excesses and his estrangement
from ex-band members, including Graham Nash and Neil Young. This doc follows the typical path of a musician/rock star’s biopic. As in ROCKETMAN (Elton John), BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (Queen), the Asia Kapadia 2015 Oscar Winner AMY (on Amy Winehouse) all the biopics chart the protagonists rise to fame, their downfall, and if fortunate redemption back to fame. Drug addiction and drink the number one factor for Crosby’s downfall is shared among his famed contemporaries.
Crosby does a lot of talking in Eaton’s film. There should be more performances on film. The result is a rather boring first two-thirds before it picks up and garbs the audience’s attention like a sock in the jaw. This is when Crosby talks about his drunkenness and drug addiction. Crosby states that members of his old bands refuse to talk to him as a result of his previous bad behaviour. When Crower asks him the reason he does not initiate the reconciliation, Crosby dodges the question.
But every famous person accomplishes some good in life. For Crosby, it is the use of his songs to do good, such as justice in the American system. This film like the recent documentary WATERGATE enforces the evil that Presidents (in this case past President Richard Nixon) do.
The film’s most engrossing segment is the one showing Crosby’s lowest point in his life. This is when his drug addiction got him arrested and jailed in the penitentiary with no money and nothing to his name. But Crosby finally perseveres, comes out clean and does good in his life.
More that an examination of an artists’s talent, the doc is more interesting as a testament of the fallen star and how Crosby redeemed himself.