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End Of The Century Review

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The band that kick-started the punk scene is no more. Part tribute, part journalistic exploration, this documentary is a rocket ride through the twisted history of New York's finest rockers.

★★★★

"One, two, three, four..." The familiar cry that provided the countdown to punk rock first erupted in a dingy New York bar, CBGB, back in 1974. Amid a blitzkrieg of three-chord guitar riffs and a swirl of bubblegum vocals, the Ramones ripped through an entire set in just under 30 minutes. They'd started as they would go on, an aggressive whirlwind of energy and emotion, two raw elements that, as End Of The Century demonstrates, can be found in equal parts both in the music and the band members' personalities.

Charting their history from the early days through to the death of Joey and Dee Dee, directors Gramaglia and Fields let the tale speak for itself, collecting interviews, old and new, with all the band members and those they influenced to relate a saga of creative genius, internal strife and immense disappointment.

In spite of their legacy, the band failed in their bid for commercial acclaim, and the directors leave no stone, or stoner, unturned when delving into the drug abuse, incestuous behaviour and in-fighting that came to define the band. The directors do occasionally sacrifice veracity to boost the drama - bassist Dee Dee's recollection of Tommy's contribution, for example, is misleading - but when the truth is this good, the facts usually speak for themselves.

Drugs, alcohol, brawling and boredom... A gripping insight into the problems faced by men trying to sustain interest in playing the music of their youth.

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