Monday, 7 December 2015

Stepping Razor Red X

I had penciled in two Bruce Springsteen documentaries for the w/end but when my connection failed to deliver the goods, I turned to a music documentary from my own collection, the 1993 film Stepping Razor Red X, a film on the life of reggae firebrand Peter Tosh. Forfeiting a conventional biopic narrative for an abstract, fragmented structure, the film is as confrontational and aggressive as its subject, with Tosh's own voice-over (courtesy of some recordings known as the Red X tapes) railing against the poverty of Trenchtown and the violence of apartheid. The film also builds a compelling case that Tosh's murder at his home in 1987 was politically motivated rather than a simple armed robbery. Tosh's music is well represented too with plenty of excellent live footage. Superb stuff. Finally, one interesting connection to muse over - the film was written and directed by Nicholas Campbell who might be better known as one of David Cronenberg's regular players, appearing in Fast Company, The Brood, Naked Lunch, and perhaps most memorably as Frank Dodd, the Castle Rock killer who becomes a victim of his own handiwork in The Dead Zone...

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