|Bar Italia, with a cheap disposable camera.|
The film is a bit of an odd beast, and will likely only appeal to a small segment of viewers, even those who already like Pulp. It's not quite a concert film, as it never shows an entire song performed in its entirety. It's not quite a band history, as the documentary only briefly touches on things that would already be known by most fans. The film attempts to be a street level snapshot and ode to Sheffield, which is a fairly blue collar industrial town in the north of England, and yet we don't get a very detailed view of the place. With all these half measures, it might be a bit surprising that I enjoyed the film as much as I did. But the film does have moments of beauty, and it has aspirations beyond simply showing the band playing their hits, or giving a standard rise-fall-rise rock-doc narrative. Pulp: A Film About Life, Death & Supermarkets aims to give a feeling of the place of Sheffield, if not the accurate image of it, and it tries to show how this feeling shaped the band Pulp, which in turn shaped how the townspeople of Sheffield see themselves now.
The concert footage that is on display in the film looks electric, reaching its pinnacle with an energetic, inclusive version of Common People that should renew the song's energy to those who have tired of the two decades worth of overplay and questionable cover versions. It's enough to make one wish for an actual concert film, with the full concert on display. It's hard to complain about what we have, though, when it's as idiosyncratic and enjoyable as this. I'm having trouble thinking of another rock documentary that had a moment as odd and beautiful as a diner full of senior citizens singing an acoustic version of Help The Aged.
Final Rating: 4 (out of a possible 5)