May 22, 2013

Film Review: The Other Life (Shooter Jennings/Blake Judd)

by Jeremy Harris

To coincide with the release of The Other Life album, Shooter Jennings along with Blake Judd have made a short film/long music video by the same name. The film begins with The Other Life music video, which has already been released for online viewing and travels through several of the songs from the new album in a twisted tale of psychedelic proportions. While there are several reoccurring themes and characters throughout, this is not to be confused with the style of connected music videos released by Travis Tritt throughout the 1990's. Instead this is a fast paced trip down a dead-end road that leaves more questions than answers. It is everything yet nothing at the same time. Is this a bad thing? No, it's exactly what it needs to be: Something to make the viewer want more and to talk about what they've seen for quite some time. (Shooter also doesn't have an answer to sum it up)

One thing I was able to take away from watching the film was that this may be an actual look into Shooter's life itself. The struggles of not knowing who to trust and finding out you've trusted the wrong people too late. I may be way off on this, but it's just my take. I didn't ask any questions about any special meaning after my viewing mostly because of my interpretation and the fact that I didn't want this review to be influenced by any inside information I may have received. I believe if ten different people watched the film together, you would get at least six different takes on the overall meaning and direction of the film. One thing is for sure, I would not take anything that may make you hallucinate before watching The Other Life. You may see enough things based on the high production quality and trippy storyline.

While the film consist of very few words (less than ten) and only a few subtitles there are several moments that made me feel as if the story was actually being read aloud to me. No, I wasn't under the influence of anything (Does beer and bar food count?) and I'm definitely not the artsy type, but I could see this movie getting high marks at several film festivals. I was most impressed by Shooter's ability to lay still for long periods of time and to not freak out in a body bag. (Two things I couldn't do if my life depended on it) While the acting itself is of high quality, the overall star of the project is the way the film was edited and pulled together in itself. Blake Judd deserves a bigger opportunity based solely on this project. I'm not sure anyone else could offer up a thirty minute film that somehow brings to mind Quentin Tarantino, old black and white horror films and the Nicolas Cage movie Family Man. Yes I'm serious about my previous sentence (and still not on drugs).

Just in case this all doesn't sound weird enough for you.... The plan is to release The Other Life on purple VHS at first. (I guess they couldn't find a good Betamax supplier?) Only after all of the limited edition VHS copies have been sold will the project come to life on any other format, so I guess I'll take one. I haven't owned a machine capable of playing it in 5-6 years but just think how cool an autographed purple VHS would look in a display case. One good thing about this is the simple fact it will add a step or two to a pirated copy going viral. But don't worry, if you can't wait or if 1980's technology isn't your thing, the film will begin playing as soon as the doors open at all indoor Shooter Jennings' shows on the current tour and as part of special VIP packages that can be purchased at and also includes a special meet and greet, acoustic performance and other goodies. So grab some popcorn, hop in your DeLorean, lace up a pair of British Knights and tighten the drawstring on the best pair of Zubaz pants you own because it's movie time.

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