Review: Made In America
Made in America is the perfect documentary for those who love big music festivals with tenuous generic themes but loathe sweaty masses and high entrance prices.
This glossy, pleasant Ron Howard film follows the set up and execution of Made in America, a massive music event in Philadelphia headlined and crafted by Jay Z. It also serves as a highlight reel of the fest, as following brief interviews with many of the major stars, including Janelle Monae, Skrillex, Miike Snow, Rita Oro, The Hives, and Run DMC, we watch as they perform.
One of the most entertaining bands – Pearl Jam – get two songs shown, including a segment of ‘Better Man’ in which the thunderous crowd sings the chorus to perfection in a rather stunning display.
The central, tenuous theme is that all types are music are art, and that everyone can not only embrace all forms of sound, but artists shouldn’t be relegated to specific genre. Jay Z endeavors to bring varied music and disparate music fans under one umbrella, triumphing that in America now people have hope and work alongside each other, instead of against.
There is little substance, and most of those artists interviews have little to say of what is happening – it’s far more intriguing if and when they chat about their past.
It’s a simple, hopeful piece of performance art, and while Howard himself seems interested in the work, there is little of a compelling nature. While he interviews a nervous food vendor, a young stage hand, and a concerned old lady who lives nearby, it adds a layer to the proceedings but nothing of interest.
For the music fan, Made in America lacks the meaning and force that the festival itself was striving for, but a slew of entertaining performances and solid directing keep this from being completely incidental.