Scott Walker: 30th Century Man Review

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A documentary on the enigmatic and influential musician Scott Walker.


Forty years ago, Scott Walker was a boy-band pin-up, besieged by screaming fans. Now he makes bleak, wildly experimental albums that get compared to Samuel Beckett. Stephen Kijak has built a celluloid shrine to this singular figure, using archive footage, interviews and unprecedented access to the man himself, who, contrary to his reputation as a tormented recluse, is a courteous gent in a baseball cap.

Mostly, though, Kijak finds ways to let the music do the talking. In one wonderful sequence, admirers including David Bowie, Jarvis Cocker and Radiohead are played vinyl copies of Walker’s albums and sit dumbstruck, astounded all over again.

With surprising access to Mr. Walker himself and a proper central role for the music, this is a captivating documentary for fans of his or fans of music, full stop.