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The Devil and Daniel Johnston [DVD]

Jeff Feuerzeig    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: 34.99
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Product details

  • Directors: Jeff Feuerzeig
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Aug 2006
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FTJ782
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,591 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Music documentary looking at the turbulent life and career of songwriter Daniel Johnston, who has struggled with mental illness for much of his life. Features appearances from bands such as Sonic Youth, Jad Fair and Half Japanese.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars walking the cow 15 Nov 2006
Format:DVD
This is one of the most exhaustive and insightful documentaries you'll ever see. It works impeccably well as both a study of the origins and trajectory of a remarkable songwriting career, and as a stark portrayal of the suffering caused by serious mental illness. These two strands run beautifully in parallel through the film.

As a passionate fan of Johnston's music (and a keen admirer of his art), I was always going to find this fascinating but it should offer much for those who are unfamiliar with his work. The detail provided by Feuerzeig (a self-confessed fan) might be tiresome for some but it would be hard to discount the moments of sadness, humour, shock, disgust, disbelief and awe permeating this work.

The level of sympathy and respect for Johnston will vary amongst viewers but after seeing this I have even more love for the man.

The thoughts of the various contributors, particularly of course his parents, are never less than compelling.

Johnston's own home video footage is used to great effect, as is other input, including the MTV Cutting Edge clips.

The DVD itself is really well presented (great Daniel drawing on the cover of course) and the extras are nice though less thorough than they could have been. The reunion with beautiful muse Laurie, as mentioned by a previous reviewer, will definitely break your heart.

Overall, this is an amazing insight into the mind and life of a ridiculously talented and inspirational man.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Viewing 3 Sep 2006
By Joel
Format:DVD
I started trying to write a proper, conventional review for this film, but the more I tried the more I realised it really isn't necessary. All you need to know is that, if you have even a passing interest in Daniel Johnston, you need to see this. All credit goes to the film-makers who researched their subject as thoroughly as is deserved of a man like Daniel. The film covers all aspects of his life so far, and deals with his condition sensitively yet still isn't afraid to state the raw facts and include a few quite shocking stories and clips. The Devil and Daniel Johnston overall manages to be at times warm and hilarious, at times chilling and heart-breaking, but always engaging and a real step-up from a few other musician related DVDs I've seen recently. Like I say, if you're even slightly curious about the man, you HAVE to watch this film.

Another very interesting feature is one of the Extras on the disc, which shows Daniel being reunited with Laurie at the SXSW showing of his film, and if that doesn't really grab you reading this now, by the time you've finished the film you'll be frantically navigating your way around the DVD menu so you can watch it for yourself.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I don't know who will be more enthralled by this documentary film - long-time fans of Daniel Johnston or those being exposed for the first time to his tragic genius. I can only speak for the latter, a brand new fan who has found what I consider to be a kindred spirit. The Devil and Daniel Johnston may sound like some kind of Faustian melodrama, but it is in fact a searingly honest and unabashedly intimate look inside the mind of a tortured genius, a chronicle of madness examining Daniel Johnston's life-long internal war between self-accomplishment and self-defeat. Famed for his art as well as his music, Daniel Johnston has lived a life of almost mythic ups and downs, and his story is equally inspirational and heartbreaking. Some folks won't connect with his art or his folk-based songs, but I don't think anyone can watch this film without being moved by the man's emotional story.

From childhood, Johnston was an iconoclastic individual dedicated to art and music, surrounding himself with comic books and musical paraphernalia, including his own music studio with a piano and boom boxes. It was here in his basement (and later the homes of both his brother and his sister) that he recorded his first songs for a cottage industry of self-made tapes that would serve as his foot in the door to a musical career. Johnston taped more than just his music, however. From 8mm movies made with his brother to audio letters to friends and associates to recordings of his mother haranguing him to home video of his early days in the Austin music scene, an almost unprecedented wealth of personal material was available for this illuminating documentary, including films of the inspirational girl who got away (and married a mortician, appropriately enough for this story).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 19 April 2007
By Neil
Format:DVD
The Devil and Daniel johnston is a wonderful film. I'd never heard of him before seeing it, and first impressions were strangely deceptive. The DVD menu features a short clip of Johnston performing one of his songs, and it sounds absolutely dreadful. However, when you start to watch the film which draws on family member and friend interviews as well as old super-8 films Johnston made as a child, a bizarre genius starts to reveal itself. Later on, when the footage from the DVD menu is shown again, it seems great rather than the dirge it seemed before. Johnston is not a great singer, nor is he a particularly skilled musician, but what stands out from his music is powerful emotion. Every line he sings is dripping with it, so much so that you cannot fail to be moved. The child-like vocals and heartfelt lyrics seem to come from deep inside his soul, and it's impossible not to be impressed by the original world of music and art that he has created around himself. It's a deeply sad story with it's tales of mental illness, but ultimately it's enriching and very entertaining. I recommend this film to everyone. If you like film documentaries, or are passionate about music, you should not miss the opportunity to see it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
If you're a fan of Daniel Johnston you'll absolutely love this, if you're not a fan of Daniel Johnston you'll probably find this bizarre and unappealing. Read more
Published on 30 April 2011 by james
3.0 out of 5 stars A Could've Been Musical Genious? I Don't Think So!
I decieded to rent The Devil & Daniel Johnston purely because I was going through an obsessive Kurt Cobain phase & after seeing a trailer for the movie & the mere mention of Cobain... Read more
Published on 10 Oct 2008 by Claire Frances
1.0 out of 5 stars Kings New Clothes
Ha Ha Ha. I've just seen this film on More 4 and I have to say it's up there with Spinal Tap. Ha ha ha!
Published on 20 Aug 2008 by Warren King
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Exhaustive (and exhausting) intimate biography of a relatively obscure American alternative performer/artist. Read more
Published on 24 May 2008 by Cake
1.0 out of 5 stars talentless
One can only imagine how the very many brilliant yet unknown and poor musicians from the rest of the world may view the sad and mentally ill Mr johnston,and his shambolic awful... Read more
Published on 14 Dec 2007 by Orwellianrebellion
5.0 out of 5 stars DANIEL JOHNSTON IS A LIVING LEGEND and the reviewer that gave him one...
Daniel Johnstons life is admirable and inspirational.

We can all take something from this Documentary. It is very obvious that the person by the name of Mr. Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2007 by Hank Bones
1.0 out of 5 stars The real reason why Kurt Cobain shot himself?
Actual synopsis; A talentless loser, who thinks he's a rock star, surrounded by complete and utter morons (mostly family and friends, it has to be said) who all think he's 'cool'. Read more
Published on 6 May 2007 by Ian Joseph Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Is Daniel Johnston?
Who is Daniel Johnston? Well I didn't know before watching this documentary either but having done so I am now a convert to the cult that is Daniel Johnston; the man, his music and... Read more
Published on 12 April 2007 by Dyspeptic Spirit
2.0 out of 5 stars Let's get some perspective please !
Let's get some perspective on this documentary. Genius ? singer ? songwritter ? I have put a question mark against all of these things Daniel Johnston is supposed to be . Read more
Published on 13 Feb 2007 by Mark Wharton
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