A greater sin still is how the film saps Fela’s music of its energy. It’s not entirely Gibney’s fault: no documentary about an artist has ever captured the thrill of personal discovery of that artist’s work. Being flatly informed of the military raid on Fela’s Kalakuta Republic compound after hearing a snippet of “Zombie” pales in comparison to hearing all of “Zombie” first, being galvanized by it universal anti-military lyrics, then gradually filling in the context around that composition. When it is served to a viewer already wrapped in significance, the whole progression of immersion is thrown out, teaching detached admiration instead of passionate discovery.
Read my full review at Spectrum Culture.