Thursday, May 2, 2019

In Brief: Devil's Pie: D'Angelo (2019) Tribeca 2019

Portrait of singer and songwriter D'Angelo who returned to the music scene after disappearing for 14 years. D'Angelo released two albums that many considered to be seismically shattering in the way they moved the the R&B genre forward. However his life unraveled as he found it difficult to separate the man of god and the man on stage.

Telling the story of D'Angelo's tour to support his third album the film balance performances with archival footage and interviews with the man himself the people in his band. Its the usual approach which works for much of the film painting a portrait of a young man with talent to burn who is trying to find his way back. I fell in love with the music and the performer and planned to order his albums as soon as I could get to a computer.

The trouble is that as much as I like the first half the film, like the man himself, begins to fragment in the second half. Its not clear at times what we are watching and by the time he bolts from a gig in Europe I had no clue what I was seeing since the film never makes any effort to explain what exactly was going on. It's so bad it feels as though twenty minutes is missing. The result is that a very good film became a very bad film very quickly.

Recommended for fans only.

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