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STUDIO: Virgil Films and Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 86 minutes
A documentary about punk rock dominatrix hell raiser Marian Anderson.
Directed by Lilly Scourtis Ayers, featuring Marian Anderson, Tim Armstrong, Dexter Holland, and Henry Rollins.
Last Fast Ride is a story about a musician you’ve probably never heard of, but sadly her story is all too familiar. The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long and Marian Anderson was a goddamn blowtorch. Despite some monotony issues, it’s a passionate, well-crafted look at an influential punker.
Last Fast Ride: The Life, Love and Death of a Punk Goddess is a documentary about an artist whose life was cut too soon by her speeding-train lifestyle. Marian Anderson rose to punk fame in the early ’90s with her band The Insaints. She died of a heroin overdose in 2001 at the age of 33 but she left behind a legacy of sexually-charged mayhem and gender-defying music.
Director Lilly Scourtis Ayers’ film is a collage of concert footage, archive interviews, and new interviews with her family and former band mates. Narrated by Henry Rollins, the film begins with Marian’s traumatizing childhood in which she was repeatedly raped by her father. When she went to art school as a teenager, she found an outlet in the local music scene, which she quickly rose to prominence in. Despite this cathartic outlet, Marian constantly struggled with mental illness and addiction.
Her former band mates repeatedly say how mesmerizing she was on stage – not because she was often topless, but because of how intense and chaotic her performances were. The terrific archival footage backs up these statements. The film details one particular show Marian got in deep shit for; apparently she masturbated on stage with a banana and was arrested. The incident was highly publicized in the press and Marian really got a kick out of it. Despite such raunchy material, Ayers’ film never feels exploitative.
Some high profile punkers talk about Marian’s impact on the scene in CA. In particular Rancid’s Tim Armstrong talks about the deep affect Marian had on him. He sounds downright giddy talking about how he got to design one of The Insaints’ flyers. One of Marian’s former lovers, Danielle Santos Bernal, talks about Marian’s deep psychological scars inflicted by her father. She explains that Marian went to extremes with her sexuality (she was a dominatrix in her spare time) because after the abuse, what else was there but extremes.
Overall Ayers’ doc is a nice, sympathetic look at an often seen live fast, die young story. It’s well-assembled but after covering her traumatizing childhood and stage theatrics, it felt like they ran out of narrative. The same subjects are brought up repeatedly and after about an hour the film really loses steam. It’s just under 86 minutes but I feel like they could’ve tightened it up even more.
Also, some of the interviews take place in what look like rooms at a spa or a rehab clinic. They’re really dark and lit with candles. It’s awfully distracting.
Besides the repetitive nature of the subject matter and the bizarre choice for interview locations, Last Fast Ride is a passionate look at one of punk’s blazing female stars. It’s definitely worth a watch.
The DVD I received is a screener and did not include any packaging or special features.
Rating: Out of a Possible 5 Stars
Out of a Possible 5 Stars