Editor’s note: This is one of the reviews we posted last year covering the 2009 Charlotte Film Festival.
The Heart Is a Drum Machine is a documentary by Christopher Pomerenke which explores the question What is Music? To start off, the film was very enjoyable if only for the numerous musicians and actors who were interviewed. I was particularly excited to see musicians such as John Frusciante, Matt Sorum and the always entertaining Juliette Lewis. Also interesting was the fact that many of the most lucid explanations of what music is came from Bijou Phillips which was something in the order of “Music is a way of letting another person feel what you are feeling”. I think anyone who has ever given a mix tape (yes, I understand that phrase dates me) will understand that sentiment.
Although the film was interesting and full of great interviews, it have one flaw which was the editing. Cuts were jumpy and the pacing was not very good. The movie starts off with a
very quick pace, moving from interview to interview with very little time spent on any given person. Almost all interviews are with musicians, actors or other people in the industry. After a while though, the interviews are interspersed with longer pieces involving scholars, doctors, etc… which significantly slow the pace. There are also several fades to black which I thought were going to be the end of the film, but were not.
All in all, this is definitely worth watching for anyone who is a musician at any level. A huge amount of creative people are interviewed, and what really makes the film entertaining to people who only appreciate listening to music, not playing it is that the question is one that can’t be answered. Music is different things to different people and that’s what I think makes it great.
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