GRIMM & Chill: Crock of Gold

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  • Title: Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
  • Director: Julien Temple
  • Cast: Shane MacGowan, Johnny Depp, Siobhan MacGowan
  • Genre: documentary, biography
  • Publication date: December 4, 2020
  • Runtime: 124 min
  • Production company: Infinitum Nihil, Nitrate Film, Wild Atlantic Pictures, BBC Music, Warner Music, Screen Ireland

Since this was the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I dug up a movie that had been laying around for a while now to watch something fitting the theme. ‘Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan’ is a feature about the legendary Irish Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan, depicting his life from the early days through his punk days towards his soaring career with The Pogues when he figured out how to combine the beauty and melancholy of the traditional music of his heritage with the rebelliousness of punk music, with all the delights, tragedy and misery of being famous up to footage of the relatively recent performances of his songs with Bono and Nick Cave for his birthday.

The movie is put together with a cut and paste of archive videos, the typical animations of director Julien Temple and attempts at interviews with Shane himself by the team behind the movie, but also some of Shane‘s friends (with appearances from Johnny Depp, his sister Siobhan MacGowan and former Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams). I’m calling it attempts, because they mostly don’t get further than a bit of banter about certain events in his past, kind of fitting the subtitle ‘A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan’. Shane simply isn’t the most open of people and quite early he already puts an ultimatum that if they don’t play some music where they are, he won’t answer any fucking questions. More often than not he comes across as if he’s not all there anymore, but he shows some endearing glimmers of his bright mind that is still very much there. This is an incredible legend, living in a broken body after all the alcohol and drugs it got to endure.

To be completely honest, it took a while for me to get into the movie. The cut and paste of different video materials make for a pretty chaotic result. But once you let things soak in and push on, you’ll realize that this movie had to be fairly chaotic to fit with the crazy life of a legendary artist who was and still is one of the most rebellious and melancholic musicians around. An absolute delight of a movie about a person who will be remembered for his both tragic and boisterous life. A true legend.

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