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The Future Is Unwritten
The Future Is Unwritten
Actor: Joe Strummer
Director: Julian Temple
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
NR     2008     2hr 0min

As the frontman of The Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ever before. In acclaimed filmmake...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Joe Strummer
Director: Julian Temple
Genres: Indie & Art House, Music Video & Concerts, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Pop, Rock & Roll, Documentary
Studio: Sony Legacy
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
DVD Release Date: 07/08/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2008
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 2hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 14
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The Joe documentary we've been waiting for
punkviper | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 07/11/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Amazing that it's been almost 6 years since his death. We all have our memories of Joe, and that collective, communal spirit is a major point in Julien Temple's documentary. You'll see dozens of folks interspersed throughout the piece, each giving remembrances around campfires. Interestingly, no one is identified via subtitle on screen, so you'll see everyone from Zander Schloss to Johnny Depp if you pay attention (doubtlessly part of the 1-world, human feeling the movie goes to great lengths to portray, from the best of us to the least of us we are all in this together.) The haunting quality of Joe's voice doing the primary voice-over narration for the entirety of the film is palpable. And fortunately Temple has unearthed scads of rare, quality footage including home movies, TV interviews, and even reel-to-reel from Joe's squatting days, which means we're not dealing with the same warmed-over Westway footage for the umpteenth time. The whole film is tremendously rich, crackling with energy & vitality, but also comfortable. This is the remembrance we've wanted (needed?) since the night he left, and for me it erases the bad taste of a dozen soulless cash-in "documentaries" that have been forced upon us over the intervening years. It's a fitting coda to Joe's life: not maudlin, not excessively mournful, not ridiculously celebratory. Just a bunch of folks sitting around relating what he meant to them, replete with ample historical context, with the man himself emceeing the procession. Joe meant a lot to a lot of people, he deserves this fitting (and very human) tribute."
Johnny we hardly knew ya
Jan L. Collins | Somerville, Ma. United States | 01/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I can listen to Joe and be ok, but I have a hard time watching him in action since he's gone. We were friends for a long time. I conveniently missed it when it was in the theater, avoided purchasing it when it first came out, because I thought it would just be too heartbreaking to watch....but don't be a dope like me! IT's a wonderful film, my family and I watched it Christmas Eve. It's priceless to see home movies from when he was a kid, and see his parents. You see him as "Woody" and with his little girls, and just about every aspect of his personality, from the foulest of tempers, with due cause I might just how gentle he really was underneath all the angst. There's great concert footage, great interviews around the campfires, which was one of his things...People tend to think about Joe for the things he said, they don't always get that the best thing about him was the way he listened. I could talk about Joe till the cows come home, but I'll spare you all. If you're a Joe fan, or a Clash fan in general, you MUST have this film, IT is the quintessential Joe film. I've always enjoyed Mr. Temple's work, and with this, he's outdone himself, and I'd like to thank him for putting it out there for us.

You should also check out Dick Rude's film Let's Rock Again, it's an entirely different type of film, also very touching and a good record of Joe's work with the Mescalero's, and thanks to those guys for getting him out of the wilderness and back on stage, and to Dickie for getting it all down!"
Brillian Ode to a Brilliant Soul
Robert Strickland | Chicago, IL | 08/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Got this in the mail and popped it in the DVD player almost immediately. What a fantastic tribute to such a remarkable man. Joe's been just about my biggest hero for a long time and I was moved to tears when I had heard that he'd died. Temple's documentary brought out the man in all of his complexity and doesn't shy away from presenting him as both a flawed and yet truly inspiring person. By the time I'd finished the movie I'd been brought to tears again contemplating our having lost such a decent and humane artist. Musicians, artists and people the world over, but particularly in America, could learn a lot by viewing this film and taking a cue from Joe Strummer. Thank you Mr. Temple for making such a wonderful movie and recognizing such a wonderful man."
The Future Is Unwritten - A Peek Into The Life And Music of
Mark | East Coast | 01/27/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Future Is Unwritten is easily one of the best music documentaries and bio-pictures I have seen over the past year. In fact, this might be one of the best such productions ever made. I only hesitate to make that claim because, being rather detail oriented, I want to research more of the information included as well as see this film a few more times before putting it on that kind of pedestal. Still, this film humanizes Joe and his work in a way that is both respectful and honest. It gives us a valid picture of who Joe was, and yet somehow manages to not fall into the hole of idol-worship that most music documentaries succumb to. On all counts, those are significant accomplishments indeed.

Like most musician bio-pictures, this one is comprised in large part of interviews and commentaries about Joe and by Joe. We get to see clips of him speaking and reflecting in his own words on the success of The Clash as well as the ups and downs he experienced since the group broke up, both in and out of music. You can't help but feel a certain closeness to Joe's life that was not easily obtained from the books and movies that were made before this one. And you can't help but feel happy for Joe that he was able to get back out of the shadows and start performing live again after all those years. After all, if it weren't for Joe bands like Green Day probably would have never existed if not for him and The Clash.

One key difference however, is that some of the stylized narration that is normal for such features has been intelligently pared down to a minimum. They also seem to have done an excellent job in choosing great clips and editing them in such a way that even the random thoughts and opinions of the many interviewees flow extremely well. So not only is this watchable, but you are bound to gain at least some small insight you didn't have before watching. And that applies to the general music fan just as much as it does to the hardcore fan of Joe and his work.

Definitely give this documentary top billing and rent it or buy it soon. This is a work of story telling that any music lover can appreciate.