Movie Review: Let Fury Have the Hour
Length: 100 minutes
Release date: Dec. 14, 2012
Directed by: Antonino D'Ambrosio
Stars: 3 out of 5
"Let Fury Have the Hour" can be seen as a forecast of the next generation of artists spawned in the wake of the Occupy movement. It is a look into the social origins of some of the most groundbreaking artistic work in the last half century. Based on the book by the same name, "Let Fury Have the Hour" is an analysis of sorts and a social harbinger of the types of artistic changes that social upheavals can produce when everyone's eyes are on the politics and not on what the young people are doing with their anger.
Director Antonino D'Ambrosio directed the film, and he explores how the political focus on corporate economics overlooked a mass of angry young people who were left to watch themselves and their families struggle under the politics. D'Ambrosio argues that the entitlements given to the upper classes under the leadership of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher created an angry mass of people on a few continents. These people channeled their anger into their art, giving birth to something that was once called Dirty Realism in literature and cultural studies.
This type of new art was confrontational and very aggressive. It left no doubt that the creator and the people seeking out the work were enraged at the social conditions that they had to live in. D'Ambrosio used everything from music (punk, rock, and rap were perfect examples given) to literature and art to identify the changes. The boldness even trickled into the talent exhibited by athletes, including skaters, whose rebellious attitude became like a team jersey on all participants. The lyrics that talked of poor people, death, drugs, and living in a broken society did not mince words. The artwork, especially that of the street artists also left no feeling. Everything was fair game, a way to show the world how unhappy the masses really were despite the party line being touted by the politicians.
Although D'Ambrosio can be accused of being one-sided in his argument, it seems that the material warrants such a tunnel vision-like look. The art that came out of the 1980s and early 90s was like a scar opened raw in the cold night air. It was fascinating-it struck up strong feelings-but it was also hard to ignore.
As an anthem for his documentary, D'Ambrosio uses "Let Fury Have the Hour" by The Clash as his inspiration. In fact, Joe Strummer of The Clash was the focal point of the book version of "Let Fury Have the Hour," but other artists joined in to help fill out the documentary. The roster includes musicians Chuck D. and Eugene Hutz, literati Edwidge Danticat, athlete Tommy Guerro, and even actor Sean Hayes. These people and many more assembled alongside political activists to explain to the audience how the political climate of the 1980s fueled their bold artistry.
The many interviews in the film are intertwined with stock footage used to help viewers understand the era in question. Voiceovers, cut-in shots, and other techniques are D'Ambrosio's tools for making the material work as one fluid piece. In some places, the film seems to have a bit of a disconnection. However, the bold script, material, and interviews all work to mirror the era that is the focal point of the film.
"Let Fury Have the Hour" comes off as a politicized piece until the artists involved begin to recount how they found themselves and their talent as a result of their anger at society. It becomes apparent that the cultural failures at the time take both the blame and congratulations for the changes that began during the time and that still exist today. D'Ambrosio even includes interviews from artists who began their careers much later but who still felt the effects of the fury in art that began in the 1980s. So many people have been impacted, yet society has gained so much as a result.
Audiences will leave this documentary exploring just how the era affected them. Not everyone found their talent in the arts from the era, but D'Ambrosio seems to suggest that everyone channeled that anger for the era in some way that still may be lingering today. His documentary is also a guide for the Occupy generation angry at being part of the 99 percent. This documentary should inspire everyone to channel that anger into something constructive that will outlast the politics that began the anger in the first place. This is the issue that will linger with audiences as they leave "Let Fury Have the Hour."