'Christy Moore: Journey': Gorgeous to behold... but rather fun-free
Christy Moore: Journey, RTE 1
Published 10/04/2016 | 22:34
Which Christy Moore would you rather pass an hour with? The twinkly-eyed everyman behind Lisdoonvarna?
Or the stoic folkie who writes about death and injustice and can appear to be shouldering the woes of a nation? We saw little of the former and an awful lot of the latter in the first half of this two-part tribute to the Kildare songwriter, directed with self-seriousness by Mark McLoughlin.
Filmmakers have been pounding on Moore's door for decades.
Yet it was McLoughlin's background in political documentary that convinced Moore he was the best choice to tell his story. He came not to profile Moore the musician but Moore the social justice advocate, composer of truth-speaking ballads about the Stardust fire, Bloody Sunday and the evils of nuclear power.
The result was a beautifully wrought, deeply earnest character study. Moore came across as humble and conscientious – though not exactly a basket of chuckles.
Here was one of the great truth tellers of our time – but surely the writer of Joxer Went To Stuttgart had a playful side too?
Journey was gorgeous to behold. The midlands boreens where Moore passed his childhood looked like something out of Game of Thrones.
And the Spinal Tap-style over the shoulder shots of Moore wending his way from dressing room to stage made us feel as if we were up there with the singer.
Night after night he steps out in front of several thousand strangers and lays his emotions out on a platter. The documentary invited us to consider how remarkable it was that Moore has done this for decades yet retained his passion for communing with the masses.
However, 60 minutes of a serious film-maker following a serious songwriter about as he discussed serious issues asked a lot of the viewer.
Music has the power to sway hearts and minds - but it is also silly and throwaway, the preserve of the eternal adolescent. Journey glossed over this side and the result was rather fun-free: the television equivalent of a brown rice and black tea.