The Blueblack Hussar (18)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byKatherine McLaughlin13/09/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running Time: 99 mins

The Blueblack Hussar is an engaging, intimate and illuminating look at music and style icon Adam Ant’s current life and music career from filmmaker Jack Bond.

What’s it all about?
Director Jack Bond takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to documentary filmmaking observing British music icon Adam Ant in his everyday life and showing the backstage antics of Ant’s ‘World Tour of London’ in 2011. Live footage is spliced in between meetings with Charlotte Rampling, Allen Jones and Mark Ronson with Ant choosing to make his comeback, after a period of mental health problems that came to public attention with his being sectioned back in 2003, with his new persona The Blueblack Hussar.

The Good
Bond chooses not to dwell on the mental health issues Adam Ant has suffered with for much of his life, but instead shows how Ant uses music as medicine with some excellent intimate footage. In between Ant drinking, swearing, smoking, posing in his latest couture and generally being a show-off there is a lucid moment of honesty as he reveals how his gruelling touring schedule back in the 1980s led him to burn out. This frank discussion with Jack Bond is one of the highlights of The Blueblack Hussar, and in fact the footage Bond has chosen to use, with Ant engaging in reflective conversation with the numerous famous faces who pop up, makes for the most interesting viewing in the film.

Mark Ronson meets up with Ant to discuss the possibility of working together and Bond captures revealing talk about his working relationship with Amy Winehouse. Whenever Ant is discussing music he’s animated, clear and passionate and some of the stories he tells are a great document of his musical career.

Footage of Ant’s first outdoor gig for many years at Hyde Park shows how much he doesn’t enjoy the press junkets which go hand in hand with playing live shows. Bond’s observational approach in The Blueblack Hussar works extremely well at times like this as he shifts between footage of a bored Ant waiting in a green room with his fellow band mates singing, dancing and having a ball around him, showing the reality of the touring schedule.

The Bad
The live footage of Ant’s shows doesn’t have the best sound quality but it’s a good document of what his live shows entail and his recent album release. Many of the people and adoring women who surround Ant are never named leaving it up to the viewer to work it out, which at times makes for confusing viewing.

Jack Bond chooses to be on screen at random intervals (his phone call to Charlotte Rampling being the most random) and with most of the focus being on Ant, this odd decision occasionally upsets the flow of The Blueblack Hussar.

Worth Seeing?
The Blueblack Hussar shifts between sad, absurd, funny and illuminating which in turn is a reflection of its subject. Fans of Adam Ant should enjoy this documentary as it offers much personal insight into his current life.

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Content updated: 14/12/2017 04:02

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