Directed by Catherine Bainbridge
Oct. 1, 6:45 pm, Landmark Cinemas 9 City Centre
This intriguing record soon hits flat notes … when it’s not needle-skipping from one instrumental indigenous rocker or folk-singer to another (Link Wray, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Robbie Robertson, and more).
After a fascinating section about the pre-Civil War sound-mixing of indigenous and slave cultures—where Pura Fé, sings to a Charley Patton record, reveals the indigenous beat in the music—Rumble stutters into a series of blurb-bios. In even the best of these, metal-man Randy Castillo only gets a vague analysis of how Native drumming influenced his stick work. Dates are ignored. Context is scanty (how can a doc featuring activist John Trudell and noting the FBI’s targeting of Sainte-Marie never once mention the American Indian Movement?). Eras, regions, and disparate peoples and traditions jitter past. (There’s a mad hop from jazz singer Mildred Bailey to ‘60s footage of police brutality and the folk-music scene.)
The effect? A flitting-about number with no clear through-line, offering up key musicians who happened to be “Indians.”