It’s also a departure from the vast majority of music documentaries we’ve seen over the past decade: behind-the-scenes looks at artists like Billie Eilish, J. Balvin, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Justin. Bieber. (The recent documentary P! Nk is so singularly festive, it looks mostly like an infomercial.) These are films that promise intimate portraits of performers we love and maybe even think “know,” thanks to social media with which they methodically cultivate their fans. But while these films can be entertaining and even revealing, they aren’t exactly depictions of warts and all of them. There is still a brand to protect, a record company to serve as the ultimate guardian. There’s a structure for them that becomes formulaic, if not predictable: the touring squeak, the goofy antics behind the scenes, and maybe a physical illness or personal setback that stands in the way of the Big Concert to the Big Concert. end.
“Moby Doc,” which Moby (real name Richard Melville Hall) co-wrote with Bralver, takes all of those familiar storytelling notions, tears them to shreds and throws them out the window. Of course, Moby takes us back to the beginning, which helps us understand both his love of music and his work on animal rights, the two driving forces in his life. But he does so with an invigorating candor, almost a cathartic desire to expose his demons. It also does this with fuzzy finger puppets, Sharpie cartoons, and intentionally simplistic dioramas adorned with colorful stickers. Despite its often dark content, “Moby Doc” often carries the sweet childish vibe of a Michel Gondry film in the eclectic and knowingly crass way in which it tackles emotionally complex subjects. From the start, Moby brings together a few friends to perform some of the most heartbreaking moments of his youth – a cast he nicknamed “The Childhood Trauma Reenactment Players” – with Moby himself wearing a beret, holding a whip and offering directions such as: “A little more … sadness.”
An only child who grew up in Harlem in the late 1960s, Moby endured anger and neglect from an early age. He remembers the screamed matches between his parents, leading to the fatal drunk driving accident of his alcoholic father. His mother, a widow at 23, moved them both to the affluent enclave of Darien, Connecticut, where he was ashamed of his poverty. During this early instability, Moby says in one of the film’s many staged therapy sessions, “The music saved me.” (One of the funny details of these scenes is a reaction photo of the therapist, performed by singer-songwriter Julie Mintz, stifling a yawn as he buzzes over his success.) A wealth of footage from archives reveal the many looks and styles of the musician. the years – when he had hair but no glasses, when he played punk rock but was into EDM. Given the surreal tone of the film, it makes sense that David Lynch would show up to talk about his longtime friendship with Moby, which dates back to musician’s remix of Angelo Badalamenti’s Laura Palmer theme of “Twin Peaks” for his first big. success, “Go. Lynch also offers this bit of wisdom in explaining Moby’s desire to dig deep and understand himself: “The negativity is starting to go away. The hate, anger, fear, all of those things start to wear off. The clown costume is starting to go away. suffocating rubber dissolving negativity and pure gold coming from within.