A funny, insightful, and emotional journey about The Band and its heroes.
“Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band” serves as a haiku to The Band and its members, living and dead. It’s something that will make fans dance in their seats and clap at the music legends (Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, among others) and Martin Scorsese, who were inspired by the music group; and it has a strong depth to the nature and heart from them.
The surviving members consist of Robbie Robertson, who wrote the classic hits and revealed his trek inside and outside The Band; and Garth Hudson, who was the multi-instrumentalist playing the sax, keyboard, and organ. And the fallen angels would unfortunately happen to be Rick Danko the bass guitar player, Levon Helm the drummer, and Richard Manuel the pianist and lead singer.
The movie is told by Robertson from his memoir “Testimony,” and he adds a variety of sentimental values. He and his members have stories to tell, and the audience and I are captivated by them. Yes, too much can go through one’s mind, but there are elements that stick to you like glue.
- Robbie has had Jewish and Native American roots, which he has reflected on, and his movie passion, which led him to collaborate with Scorsese on “The Last Waltz.”
- Levon left the band and worked on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. However, because it was impossible to replace him, he eventually came back.
- Bob Dylan also joined The Band on concert tours, much to the chagrin of the fans, who did nothing more than boo him. They have a distinction between Dylan performing solo and Dylan performing with The Band.
“Once Were Brothers” was directed by Daniel Roher, a young filmmaker who went from short films to this documentary feature; and Scorsese, Ron Howard, and Brian Grazer are credited as executive producers. They’ve developed a documentary with a lot of heart, music, and insights to one of the greatest bands of all time.
Now keep in mind, the movie has already been released in art house theaters across the country, but I managed to dish on this at the Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF), and I could tell everyone was having a great time. We all laughed at the levity, we all cheered at the legends, we all paid our respect to the fallen greats, and we also danced to the iconic hits.
And it’s crucial that along with “Once Were Brothers,” “The Weight, which Robertson wrote about a man visiting the town of Nazareth, and ended up on the debut album “Music From Big Pink.” I was expecting to hear that classic hit, and once I heard, I was dancing and singing with the audience.
I wasn’t able to grab all the facts from the narrative, but I was able to catch up on the facts about how The Band inspired themselves and everyone who heard their music. This documentary must been been if your love music or experimental filmmaking.
Take a load off Fanny, and enjoy this movie.