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.