4 Stars
Year Released: 2006
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 80 minutes
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For those unfamiliar with Refused, it was a punk band that split up in the late ‘90s. The bandÕs music was hard hitting, catchy and sometimes a bit melodramatic (which sums up this documentary fairly well, too), but it found a home in the hearts of many jaded punks.
Made by band member Kristofer Steen, “Refused Are Fucking Dead” is an artistic film that explores the band’s early days up until its final show, which was cut short by police. ItÕs the stuff in between, however, that makes this one of the most fascinating investigations into what it means to be a musician.
Refused was a popular punk band with a following that many bands could only dream of. The problem? Refused was getting tired. The band members wanted to branch out artistically and explore new grounds. To make matters worse, the band was starting to resent its audience and the scene that gave it the ability to embark on worldwide tours. The four guys felt as if they were painting by the numbers, and they were sick of it. When they reached America for their latest tour, they realized their hearts were really no longer in it, and at least one member decided to call it quits. They would do one last show, though, for better or for worse. It was in a basement of a house, and several fans knew it was the end. When the cops came to break up the show, as is often the case with basement punk shows, Refused continued to play until the cords were pulled from the amps, and thatÕs when one band member, looking over a sea of defiant fans, became thankful that the police ended his misery.
Sad, tragic, and overwhelming honest are all excellent descriptions of this film. The musicianÕs responsibility to himself and his fans is examined, and what you realize is that there are no easy answers. Sometimes a band just knows when enough is enough and will act accordingly despite what fans say. Refused did that, and thatÕs what makes it different than a band like Ratt, which totally overstayed its welcome. IÕve never seen a film express that better than what is presented here. Thanks to Steen, the world gets to view RefusedÕs pain. The band would have it no other way.

Posted on June 11, 2006 in Reviews by

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