NAFF 2013: “Very Extremely Dangerous” – Review by Mike Holtz

very extremely dangerous

Very Extremely Dangerous Review

by Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie

Meet Jerry McGill; A former musician once weilding a promising career and mighty contacts in the rock n’ roll industry who ended up weilding guns, drugs and anything else one may deem dangerous to your health. This guy is the real deal in all the wrong ways and definitely an interesting documentary piece for the Director willing to put up with his antics through four states as he makes his “comeback” into the music industry. Paul Duane does just that in Very Extremely Dangerous although I’m willing to bet he regrets it today as anyone in their right mind would.

Very Extremely Dangerous is a hard watch considering we are watching a 70 year old man dying from cancer with delusions of gathering what he had in his youth before crime and drugs took hold of him. Only he’s using more drugs than ever and still breaking the law by the minute. This is a cautionary tale of what happens to the wildest of the wild when the spotlight diminishes and its not pretty.

You feel terrible for Jerry as he is reduced to some kind of sideshow for people that he calls friends willing to do anything and risk death at any moment. Then you get to feel bad for his friends when they are put in the awkward situation of having Jerry come through and wreak havoc in their lives. He’ll steal your clothes and literally wear them in front of you on his way out of your house after he has trashed it. He takes jewelry from one girl to gift it to the next. Always needing some kind of drug to get him through the next hour we watch in awe as Jerry does more and more harm to himself, knowing at any moment this guy could die right here on the screen.

As Jerry burns bridge after bridge and tears through town after town you get the obvious sense that like a child he is almost showing off to the camera. This is no solace however because even with no camera you just know he would do it for anyone showing him attention. There are some truly heartbreaking moments in this film as well when Jerry is either missing doctors visits for his cancer purposefully or wondering aloud whether he should try and cure his cancer or just let it take him for good. It’s also hard to watch him record music or play live because there is still something there. Although he has waited far too long and let life take far too harsh a toll on his psyche and body to even hold a note at moments, he still seems somewhat at peace when holding a guitar. It still seems like what he was meant to do and its sad to see what a waste his gifts have become.

Still yet, it is hard to feel bad for a guy who does the things Jerry does to himself and others, most notably physically assaulting a woman. This is also a line that the Director is unwilling to watch Jerry cross and the whole film comes to a screeching halt and falls apart as most things in Jerry’s life tend to do. There is an ending that more or less wraps things up in Dangerous but it comes from a much further away perspective than the rest of the film before it. It’s hard to imagine what may have come of Jerry’s life and almost hard to believe what we are told happens.

Very Extremely Dangerous is searingly truthful and could be shown to new musicians much the same way cautionary tales of drug abuse and high school dropouts are shown to teenagers in their school assembly halls. It goes to show that you can live life on the edge and maybe never fall off but eventually even the most awe inspired on-lookers get tired of watching. Very Extremely Dangerous is worth a watch for the sheer insanity it provides and although it may leave you feeling empty, it’s probably supposed to.

8/10

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