May 27th, 2021
MOVIE: MOBY DOC
STARRING: MOBY, DAVID LYNCH, JULIE MINTZ
DIRECTED BY: ROB GORDON BRALVER
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
For the majority of the music documentaries I have watched this year, the major factor that can make or break it is if the subject is involved. Sometimes that can sanitize the narrative and other times it can allow for a deeper, more honest approach to the subject. With Moby Doc, there’s no mincing of who this documentary is about, and the techno-beat artist is all about telling us his own story. Director Rob Gordon Bralver allows Moby, born Richard Melville Hall, to usher us through his life, starting as an only child in New York, working his way through college, finding his interest in music, using his mind to create a unique sound of his own, reaching the pinnacle in music, battling his demons of addiction, and trying to stay relevant in an industry that will forget you fast. Moby Doc is all things Moby.
An approach that the Moby Doc takes, which separates it from other documentaries, is that Moby himself ushers us through various moments in his life. Using recreated dramatizations, animation, or video from the past, we see the various things that happened in Moby’s life. It’s because of this approach that makes a documentary that looks and feels like a personal cinematic therapy session. And even with all the air that Moby clears, discussing his unhealthy habits, and what motivates him, there is still a sense that this is a person that could keep going deeper. For some it will deter, for me it felt introspective, and reflective of how we need to take care of ourselves.
The music of Moby has not been something that I paid attention to either. I find his sound to work better as background noise than something I willingly seek or appreciate. What cannot be denied is that his multi-platinum, global smash hit album Play was the soundtrack of 1999. For me, I was introduced to the music of Moby when it was played before basketball games or the hit song “Porcelain” striking the perfect note during the passionate makeout scene in Danny Boyle’s The Beach. His sound is his own, something that could be viewed as a more mainstream approach to electronic sound music. It’s no surprise that Moby was bigger in Europe than he was in America, which created both a major high of success, and a bigger downswing in his efforts to stay fresh today.
It’s the more honest and humble sides we see of Moby that work best in Moby Doc. The director Rob Gordon Bralver was also the director on many of Moby’s music videos, so there is an obvious respect and friendship between these two, which makes the scope more fact than fiction, and ultimately stronger. The details about Moby’s father and mother is tragic, where his father committed suicide, his mother had alcoholic and abusive tendencies, and in many aspects set Moby on a path to seek life alone. Music was a part of growing up, but his path to learning, creating his own sound was entirely his, making his successes more of a story about survival than just accomplishments.
There’s not many stones unturned about Moby. We learn about his drug addictions, his toxic habits of drinking himself silly, bad relationships with women, sexual encounters, and finding his true passion of saving animals. Moby is an unapologetic vegan, someone who believes in the kind and loving treatment of animals, and protecting the environment. It’s not that he has forgotten about the music, where he’s just recently released a new album titled Reprise, it’s just that Moby wants you to know all of him. And he wants to make sure he is the only one to tell his story. He put his name on the title. It’s his Moby Doc. Not anybody else.
MOBY DOC IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE ON APPLE, AMAZON PRIME, AND OTHER VOD PLATFORMS
Written by: Leo Brady