LFF 2020: ‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’ – Film Review – THN

Spike Lee presents ‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’.

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The talents of David Byrne and Spike Lee combine to exuberant effect in this new concert movie featuring music from across the career of the former ‘Talking Heads’ frontman. 

In 1984, the late great Jonathan Demme teamed together with Talking Heads to create one of the most celebrated concert movies of all time with Stop Making Sense. It stands as a testament to the unpredictable nature of Talking Heads in their prime, and is often considered the gold standard when it comes to films of its kind. The shadow of Stop Making Sense and its oversized suit does indeed loom large over Byrne’s latest concert film, but it is a fact that cannot be avoided and one that is embraced in this new performance piece, put together by Spike Lee. Echoing Demme’s previous film, American Utopia emerges as a more modern and urgent celebration of Byrne’s music. 

American Utopia features performances of songs from both the Talking Heads catalogue and Byrne’s own career, with some surprise covers along the way. On a sparse square stage, Byrne and his merry band all dressed in grey suits with bare feet, strut, dance and groove their way across a selection of joyful tracks that bring to light Byrne and Lee’s outlooks on modern day America. Together, they create something that is as much a call to action is it is a celebration of musical expression. 

Full review over at THN, originally published October 15th 2020.

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