Westway to the World | Chicago Reader

Westway to the World

80 minutes 2000

A plodding and disingenuous documentary on the Clash (2000). Director Don Letts used to spin records before Clash gigs in the early days, shot several of their videos, made a film (since lost) about their 1981 residency in Times Square, and was later inducted into Big Audio Dynamite, the post-Clash combo headed by guitarist Mick Jones. With that kind of resumé Letts isn't about to probe the Clash's dodgy legend, so he contents himself with digging up old concert footage, allowing the four members to blandly reminisce for the camera, and cutting in a lot of scratched and scrawled-on celluloid, an arty element that recalls the Pollock-inspired stage wear the Clash favored when they were still groping for an image. The film glosses over the friction between Jones and Joe Strummer that ultimately ruptured the group, the firing and rehiring of Svengali-like manager Bernie Rhodes, and the harrowing drug addiction of drummer Topper Headon, who's been in and out of rehab since then and looks like a wraith.

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