FILM REVIEW: Amy plus Q&A with director Asif Kapadia

Worth a look?: *****

Where: BFI

When: 22/6/15

Opening nationwide: 3/7/15

The most heartbreaking moment in Kapadia’s follow-up to Senna is when one of Amy’s friends explains how the star told her a career highlight for any other artist, winning five Grammys including one presented by her hero Tony Bennett, was boring without drugs.

That was in 2008, three years before her death from alcohol poisoning and shortly after signing a contract with her record company that she would take drugs no more.

Kapadia is an interesting choice to make the documentary because as he explains in the BFI Q&A he had her albums but didn’t consider himself a huge fan and was actually approached to make it, rather than originating the idea.

He tells how he thought of the film almost as a musical with Amy’s songs selected in an order to chart her meteoric teenage rise and fall at just 27 years old.

The controversy around the documentary has been generated predominantly by the men who Amy chose to surround herself with but it’s a film which asks more questions than it answers: including why was she touring Europe shortly before her death five years after her astonishing Back To Black album and with no new material apparently on the horizon?

monstagigz saw her perform once, Hammersmith Apollo in late 2007, when her appearance hours late and slurred performance prompted boos. Amy also begs the question how complicit were her fans and the media in her demise? Would the outcome have been different without mobile phones and social media? Whatever the answers, Back To Black remains one of the greatest albums ever. Amy’s tragedy was not least that she didn’t live long enough to complete a follow-up.

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