American Hardcore
The best rendition of “Wind Beneath My Wings” I’ve ever heard.

Theatrical Release Date: 09/22/2006
Director: Paul Rachman
Featuring: Henry Rollins, Flea, Ian MacKaye, Keith Morris, Phil Anselmo, et. al.

In the late 70′s and onward from there, a musical backlash to mainstream American culture took shape and its name was Hardcore Punk.

The genre allowed kids all across America to vent at the disco era, to vent at their parents, to vent at the establishment.

In the documentary, “American Hardcore”, director Paul Rachman went right to the source – interviewing the bands and their fans.

As a suburban kid who grew up on MTV and readily admits my Lilith Fair tendencies in music, I’m far from an expert in Hardcore music. I have a wide range of musical taste but it never really strayed to Hardcore Punk.

Sure, I’d heard of Black Flag, Minor Threat and a few of the other bands but I’d never really listened to their music. It wasn’t my scene.

What I found wonderful about seeing this film is having my own preconceptions slightly adapted. I had always looked at this subculture as kids who couldn’t deal with being middle class and just wanted an excuse to punch in somebody’s face.

Sure, there’s an element of that … and the violence in the shows and the culture itself was real. People got beat up and property was destroyed. That’s just the way it was, an outward expression of the inner rage.

As such, I never really stopped to think that these kids who got into the scene did so in order to find a sense of community. Regardless of the psychological motivations behind it (or the genuine nature of those motivations), Hardcore fans were carving out their own place in society, on what they perceived as their own terms.

And I can definitely respect that.

“American Hardcore” does a wonderful job of being a documentary. I find that so refreshing in the current landscape of politically/socially motivated documentaries.

This film isn’t trying to convert people or right some wrong, it’s just putting some of the stories and events of the Hardcore scene to celluloid for posterity.

Even if you’re not into the music, it’s interesting to see and learn about a segment of society that I had no real knowledge of.

I’m giving “American Hardcore” a 3 out of 5. It does what a documentary should and that’s deliver the story … no more, no less. Though I could have done with less movie … this feels really long (which ultimately led to keeping this from getting a higher rating). But if you have any interest in the subject, this is worth the rental.