Posted: 07/01/2007


Punk’s Not Dead


by Rick Villalobos

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Punk’s Not Dead is a documentary that explores the history of a culture that was once deemed a menace to all. As bands like the Ramones and the Clash gained popularity, punk-rock music slithered out of basements and backyard bashes. Evil corporate-doers began listening, and this new musical movement became what it despised: a part of the establishment.

The debates are straightforward: pop punk versus real punk music, selling out—meaning, getting signed by a major label versus remaining independent, and dressing the part versus living the culture. Punks really do care! They have heart—in a very loud and anarchic way. According to them, punk music is a cultural phenomenon that surpasses any political platform or socioeconomic class. It’s punk to be aware of the issues—just don’t tell anyone. But who is to say what punk is and what it is not? It is not up to the masses and the record executives, but to the one on stage holding the mic, playing the instrument, or listening to the music.

Director and producer Susan Dynner is a true fan. She brings the punk life in front of the cameras eye with a touch of realism that can only be done by a true punk rocker. Nobody else could have escaped the glamour. Punk citizens are independent, unruly, whimsical, and hardcore. Outsiders will be charmed by their candor and fun-loving attitude. This film itself absorbs the character of a punk musician. Punk’s Not Dead is blunt and unparalleled. Enough with the endless praise! The rebel in us all will soon see this film for what it is—a masterpiece that our punk forefathers can be proud of.

For punk enthusiasts and greenhorns alike, this film will educate and satisfy the hardest of the hardcore. It is a tribute, it is a concert, and it is a time capsule.


Rick Villalobos is a film critic living in Chicago.

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