27 October 2012 | rooprect
I'll skip the review of the regular stuff and jump right to what makes this movie unique. First off, we get a parade of cameos from legendary alt-rockers We have Alice Cooper as the headmaster vampire (not far from his real life persona), Iggy Pop as a hopelessly old school studio engineer, Henry Rollins as a hilarious loud mouthed DJ, Alex Lifeson (guitarist extraordinaire for Rush) as a creepy border crossing guard, Carole Pope (80s punk icon) as a club bouncer, Moby as an arrogant rival band singer, and who knows, probably a few more I missed.
"Suck" relies on these cameos to give the audience a little wink. So if you're unfamiliar with these people, you might miss out. It's never too late to look them up on youtube though. There are other little inside jokes too; for example, there are a number of visual homages to famous album covers (if nothing else, you'll recognize Abbey Road). Digging deeper, there are funny ironies such as Moby playing a character named "Beef" whose gimmick is to play with raw meat on stage. In real life, Moby is a strict vegan... and it's hilariously obvious that the "raw meat" is nothing more than some strips of rubber with red food dye.
A lot of this stuff comes at you fast, and even the most hardcore fans will probably miss a few gags. So don't worry if you have to watch the movie multiple times.
OK, all that aside, the story itself is pretty basic but with an interesting metaphorical spin to it. As other reviewers have pointed out, it's not a movie about vampires as much as it's about the vices of success... whether we're talking about drugs, glamour, or "selling out". How far will a struggling musician go to win fame? And at what cost? That's basically the only serious part of the film, and the rest is totally tongue-in-cheek. Don't expect realism. In its place expect absurdist humor (such as the fact that nobody gets caught for murdering people in the open, or live on national radio). Again, this may be a metaphor for the fact that many famous musicians never got caught for their extravagant drug habits even though they flaunted it in public. With that in mind, "Suck" becomes a biting satire of not just the fame-seeking rock stars, but also of the mindless fans who will condone and glorify anything.
I saved one of the best performances for last. Malcom McDowell plays an ominous character with a fetish for flashlights. He brings his usual larger-than-life presence to the screen but with a nice comedic air. Check out the outtakes on the DVD and you'll see that he had a great time playing the part.
Even if you have no idea who some of these famous cult musicians are, you'll still find the movie entertaining, funny & interesting from start to finish. Similar films include the Australian flick "Garage Days" by Alex Proyas, "Thunderstruck" (about a bunch of AC/DC obsessed fans), and on the more serious side, "Sympathy for Delicious" which tells a great rock'n'roll metaphor.
But like I said up front, this film's power lies in its ability to connect with "cult audiences" using cameo appearances to create quirky characters. In that respect I'd compare it to "Coffee and Cigarettes" by Jim Jarmusch (featuring Iggy Pop, Tom Waits, The White Stripes, etc). If you recognize at least 50% of the people I've mentioned, then don't hesitate to see this flick.