Directed by Andrew Dominik, This Much I Know to Be True is a documentary film that explores the collaboration between Nick Cave and Warren Ellis as a follow-up of sorts to the 2016 documentary One More Time with Feeling. The film explores the collaboration between the two men as they perform songs from both the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ 2019 album Ghosteen and their newest work at the time in Carnage as they’re joined by legendary British artist Marianne Faithfull. The result is a visually-enchanting and engaging film from Andrew Dominik.
Shot in the spring of 2021 in London just weeks before the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were to tour the U.K., the film is a look into the collaboration between Cave and longtime Bad Seeds member/collaborator Warren Ellis as they perform songs at the Battersea Arts Centre in London. Much of the material isn’t just from the Bad Seeds’ 2019 album Ghosteen but also their most recent collaboration in Carnage where Cave and Ellis perform these songs with a string quartet, a trio of backing vocalists, a session drummer, and Bad Seeds guitarist George Vjestica for one song. The film also feature scenes at Brighton where Cave and Ellis live in separate homes as they talk about their collaboration with the former also going back to the art of creating ceramic pottery and statues as the film opens with some of his creation including a story about the Devil.
Director Andrew Dominik is featured throughout the film as he asks Cave and Ellis about their collaboration as well as creating some unique compositions that include some dolly-tracking shots while utilizing different aspect ratios for some of the performances while much of the interviews are straightforward. Even with cinematographer Robbie Ryan keeping the visuals straightforward while the performances are shot with unique lighting presentation that include some unique lighting design with a few visual effects bit from Sam Brady in the lighting. There is also a scene where Marianne Faithfull does some poetry to precede a performance where Dominik shoots as she is getting ready while also showing that she is still dealing with an illness that she is trying to get over.
Editor Matthew C. Hart provides a straightforward approach to the editing as it include the performances in which he allows a lot of the shots to linger for more than 30 seconds while also showcasing the interviews that include Cave reading questions from The Red Hand Files that he runs as a way to communicate with fans. Sound recordist John Currie and re-recording mixer Adam Scrivener do amazing work with the sound in not just capturing many of the instruments that are played for some of the songs as well as some of the intimate moments and some of the chatter that goes on during the rehearsals.
This Much I Know to Be True is a marvelous film from Andrew Dominik. The film isn’t just something fans of Nick Cave and Warren Ellis should see but it is also a film that explore not just their collaboration but also their love of music as well as wanting to express themselves following the events of the COVID-19 pandemic whether it’s through music or art. In the end, This Much I Know to Be True is a remarkable film from Andrew Dominik.
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Andrew Dominik Films: Chopper - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford - Killing Them Softly - One More Time with Feeling - Blonde (2022 film)
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