Joe Strummer
"The Future Is Unwritten"

(Sony Legacy 2008)Joe Strummer - The Future Is Unwritten

In the end, we all have to go. And if each of us could be remembered the way Joe Strummer is remembered in "The Future Is Unwritten," with love and great admiration, maybe it might not be quite so bad. Gathered around bonfires, a thing of great personal significance to Strummer, the musician's friends, family and admirers remember him as he was, from his days as a boarding school bully, amidst the squatters scene with The 101'ers, leading The Clash and his final days out with The Mescaleros.

If you ignore the fact that none of the speakers, through whom the documentary is told, are ever directly identified with a caption or an introduction, "The Future Is Unwritten" is a clear and fascinating documentary that keeps you captivated. Somewhat lengthy at just over two hours long, filmmaker Julian Temple makes the most of every moment with access to personal and family video footage and photographs as well as personal interviews, clips from The Clash and animated takes on Strummer's own drawings and cartoons. While it can sometime border on information overload, the pieces do come together and offer a fuller picture in the end that is undeniably eye opening.

Too often, posthumous documentaries end with the all too distinct feeling of sadness as they reflect the loss that has occurred. "The Future Is Unwritten" is invigorating and notable because it celebrates Strummer -- as a person and as a musician, warts and all. The film lets the viewer walk away with greater knowledge and a deeper respect for Joe Strummer.

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