Rebel Scum (2015)
Summary: The Bible Belt and Punk Rock collide in the most controversial documentary of the year, chronicling two years in the life of Knoxville white trash punk band The Dirty Works. Centered on self-destructive frontman Christopher Scum, take a peek inside a seedy underworld where mental illness, addition, violence and family dysfunction fuel creative vision. One part Hated, one part The Story of Anvil.
This was a strange movie to watch. It is very hard to watch a documentary based on a topic that you know absolutely nothing about. I'm not even really sure what to say about this one. I read up a little bit about the band and everything I have read said that they are basically a train wreck. The documentary definitely shows that to be true. But their story is so off the wall that it doesn't seem real. Everything seemed to have more of a scripted feel to it. There were a lot of things that just didn't quite add up for me. For one, the lead singer Christopher Scum is a recovering alcoholic. Yet he plays in a band where all of the members drink like a fish. I get that he can't tell people how to live their lives but I would think there would be some lines he would draw to stop making his life harder. Case in point, the guitar player, Steven Crime literally drinks like 24 hours a day. Christopher goes so far as to say he sees Steven drinking and sometimes he wants to have a drink with him so bad. If it's that much of a struggle, why not set some guidelines about when he can and can't drink? Christopher's girlfriend Renee also has a drink in her hand just about every scene she is featured.
Christopher is an interesting character in his own. He seems very spacey and slurs his words a lot. Part of that is because he is on methadone. The other part is because he was apparently beat by cops who were arresting him on a drunken disorderly charge. I actually felt bad for him seeing the struggles he goes through on his everyday life. Seeing his struggles with addiction is a never ending cycle he can't seem to get out of. He is addicted to methadone which he went on to help him get over his other addictions. When he gets boots from one of the clinics, he goes back to using heroine until he is eventually accepted into another methadone clinic. He constant struggle with alcohol, one in which he did fall of the wagon at one point and went on a bender which was unlike any I've ever seen before. The movie starts off by saying that shortly after the movie was finished, Christopher Scum was severely burned in a car accident; an accident that claimed the life of his girlfriend. So from the jump, you can't help but feel for the guy.
This whole documentary is basically a man struggling with himself and seeing how it causes turmoil in his everyday life, not to mention puts a tremendous strain on the band. I have never seen a group of people go from best friends to at each other's throats so quickly.
When all is said and done, this was actually a pretty good documentary. Like I said originally, some of it seems so far fetched that it couldn't possibly be real but from everything I've read, it is no exaggeration which makes this documentary that much more intriguing. I've never heard of them before and I still enjoyed their story. Can't imaging how good it would have been had it been a band I was familiar with.
reviewed by Bobby