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Shane MacGowan: If I Should Fall From Grace (2003)

Cast: Shane MacGowan, Shane MacGowan, Victoria Clarke, more...
Director: Sarah Share, Sarah Share
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Music Video Distributors
Genre: Documentary, Music, Biographies, Documentary, Music
Running Time: 110 min.
    see additional details...

Co-founder, lead singer, and principal songwriter for the seminal Irish band the Pogues, Shane MacGowan made music that was both beautiful and brutal, much of it driven by personal demons. This documentary portrait features extensive archival footage of MacGowan's career, inspired by the twin poles of traditional Irish music and the raging punk scene of the late '70s (he credits John Lydon of the Sex Pistols and that band's anti-British sentiments as a major influence). We see videos of his early band the Nips (short for the Nipple Erectors); performance footage of the Pogues; clips from studio sessions with Elvis Costello, who produced the band's acclaimed Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (and married the band's bass player, Caitlin O'Riordan); a TV appearance with Sinead O'Connor, who publicly criticized MacGowan's drinking, rousing his ire; and the video for the band's justly famous Christmas song, "Fairytale of New York," with Kirsty MacColl. There are interviews with MacGowan's parents, who speak candidly of their son's difficult childhood growing up in an urban slum in England, where the family had moved to find employment; his wife Victoria Clarke; colleagues Philip Gaston, Deirdre Mahoney, Nick Cave, and Liam Clancy; and bandmates who discuss the decision to sack their front man in 1990. Recent footage finds MacGowan a striking figure of decrepitude -- most of his front teeth are missing, and he is never far from a drink and a cigarette -- who also manages to maintain a certain air of besotted dignity. The film opens with a 2000 Christmas Eve performance in Dublin by MacGowan's band, the Popes; MacGowan mumbles his way through one of his songs, but the audience ably offers vocal support. ~ Tom Wiener, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

When you are a living legend- you can do what you want! by LStrauss December 21, 2004 - 11:58 AM PST
0 out of 1 members found this review helpful
The testimony of other artists in the film is the real proof of Mr. Macgowans impact on the world- over and over again the other musicians testify to Shanes brilliance & ability. Sure he drinks too much- but when you write "Fairytale of New York" you can do as you please- This film is an excellent look into the world of a misunderstood man- who is judged harshly by all and understood by only one good woman.

mandatory! by lowbc January 18, 2004 - 4:30 PM PST
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
an excellent film. I would have enjoyed seeing more about the pogues' and popes' other personnel but, well, this is a film about shane macgowan. I found this to be a saddening film as it documents the damage that alcohol can do to a man. early live film/interviews show macgawan as a lean, fiesty, fiery, damn-the-torpedoes musician and troubadour. the more recent footage reveals him as a bloated, bored, drunken shadow of his earlier self. lots of live footage, good interviews, and a mostly coherent timeline from the beginning to present. strongly recommended to all macgowan/pogues/popes/"irish punk" fans, but be prepared to confront some ugly truth!!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.90)
30 Votes
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