The film painstakingly shows the Erickson family's longstanding fissures, contextualizing Roky's schizophrenia and, disarmingly, putting his mother's own awkward idiosyncratic behavior on display.
Lee Daniel's cinematography brilliantly captures the desolation and desperation of Roky's life, camera shaking and panning and finding hidden angles to show the strange, seemingly endless schizophrenic signs around the singer--dozens of antennae, stacks and stacks of mail strewn throughout his apartment, and Evelyn's complicated obsession with Roky's history--from his highpoints as a rocker to his tragic three-year stay at the Rusk State Hospital for marijuana possession (where, for example, he played in an ad hoc band with a couple of murderers, a rapist, and, improbably, a hospital counselor) to her own, eerie film project where she casts Roky as "the king of the beasts" in a home-movie she undertakes as a "legacy" for the family. The film is all about otherworldly dimensions, centering in large part on youngest brother, Sumner--himself an accomplished musician playing tuba with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra--and his legal battle to become Roky's guardian and get Roky "simple medical care" and medication for his schizophrenia. This is an important chapter in the history of rock, without the underlying humor that made an indie film hit in 2005 but with a much larger historical purview. - Andrew BartlettGo to Order Form