Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
The Brian Jonestown Massacre
The Dandy Warhols.
Directors
Ondi Timoner.
Screenwriters
Ondi Timoner.
Running Time
107 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Unfinished Business
2 Star Empire Rating
High Tide
3 Star Empire Rating
Blind
4 Star Empire Rating
A Second Chance
2 Star Empire Rating
Dreamcatcher
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: When Harry Met Sally
5 Star Empire Rating

DiG!


submit to reddit


Plot
Seven years in the making, this documentary tracks, then-unknown, US bands The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre as they launch their musical careers. Pretty soon the Dandys make it big, while Jonestown start to crumble under the weight of their frontman’s ego…


Review
You’ve heard about the successful band that implodes in a frenzy of clashing egos and copious drugs. Now hear about the unsigned band that reaches rock meltdown way ahead of widespread recognition and fat paycheques. Our troubled troubadours are retro-psychedelics The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and this rock opera of a documentary follows them as they kick-start a “musical revolution” along with soulmates The Dandy Warhols.


Thing is, while the Dandys bugger off to Europe and make it big, the apparently more talented Jonestown achieve devolution, not revolution, shedding band members like confetti, and the only thing lead man Anton Newcombe kicks is a punter’s face after he’s heckled on stage. But what filmmaker Ondi Timoner is left with is a gripping record of creative angst and deteriorating relationships.


DiG! is a dizzying collage, thrumming with the energy of a live performance; a jam session of colour and monochrome, a medley of performances, arguments and parties. With its epic timeframe — Timoner cut from 1,500 hours of footage — this is the documentarian’s equivalent of the Method. Living, touring and partying with her subjects, Timoner puts us centre-front for the gig.


We’re there as Jonestown get busted for drugs, as their manager deserts mid-tour, as they hoover narcotics from the coffee table. And the spectacle of the unfolding inter-band schism is grimly hilarious, culminating with Newcombe delivering shotgun shells to the Dandys’ dressing room. In equal measure, moments of pathos permeate, such as when a maudlin Joel Gion (the band’s scene-stealing Bez figure) reflects on how he’s wasted four years being little more than a drug-addled tambourine man.


As riveting as this mêlée of spiralling egos is, DiG! earns its fifth and final star as a microcosm of ‘indie’ music on the cusp of corporate take-over. Stupendous serendipity has gifted Timoner the perfect parable of the 1990s music industry. While Newcombe’s deranged commitment to the indie spirit precludes his success, The Dandys trigger a new, thoroughly modern mechanism of music marketing, becoming huge off a mobile phone advert. Where once plugging a product would be the death-knell for artistic credibility, in these days of corporate cool-hunters and sponsored tours, it’s almost a prerequisite.


Verdict
A vibrant and vivid documentary masterwork, DiG! will have you celebrating independent filmmaking while lamenting the state of independent music-making.


Reviewed by

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for DiG!
Empire Star Rating

If you're not a fan of either acts, there's nothing here for you ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by david hayes at 23:04, 16 May 2010 | Report This Post


If you're not a fan of either acts, there's nothing here for you ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by david hayes at 23:04, 16 May 2010 | Report This Post


"the lead singer of the brians jonestown massacre couldnt be made up!"

How ironic a statement by a naive music fan? That's exactly what this mockumentary is, 'made up'. This is a rather well done promotional exercise by a all-powerful corporation with almost unllimited funds at their disposal. So good, it even fooled Empire, unless of course they were bought, and it wouldn't be the first time, or the last (See Superman Returns and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crytsal Skull). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cameron1975Williams at 22:25, 11 June 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Outstanding

brilliant, i wouldnt say just a must for rock fans but anyone who likes a good story full stop. the lead singer of the brians jonestown massacre couldnt be made up! one of the best films of last year. 4/5 ... More

Posted by boot at 21:13, 12 March 2006 | Report This Post


Outstanding

Hilarious, scary, cool, fascinating, gorgeous. A must for rock fans. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 02:34, 12 March 2006 | Report This Post



CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Showrunner Beau Willimon Reveals 8 House Of Cards Secrets
On Kevin Spacey’s dog-dispatching and more…

21 Great Movie Cons
Fleece your friends with these duplicitous devices...

Empire Podcast 150: Margot Robbie
The Focus (and Wolf Of Wall Street) star from the Top Gear track...

Empire's New Spectre Issue Covers
First look at Bond 24 in Empire's April issue

Vote For The Jameson Empire Awards 2015!
Your mission is clear...

Sleeping Beauties: The Story Behind 12 Of Cinema's Unlikeliest Hits
They came, they saw, they surprisingly conquered

Writer / Director Dan Gilroy Reveals 8 Nightcrawler Secrets
On Jake Gyllenhaal's hand-slicing mirror smash and more...

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)