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Director: Sam Peacocke
Starring: Jon Toogood, Tom Larkin, Phil Knight, Karl Kippenberger
4 / 5 (although the Shihad fan in me gives this 5 / 5)
Documentaries about successful rock bands are more often than not an entertaining watch. With their associations with sex, drugs and rock'n'roll, how could they not be?
'Shihad: Beautiful Machine' is no exception to this rule, as it goes behind the scenes with one of New Zealand's most iconic bands. The lads from Wellington have been together more than 20 years, a feat all the more remarkable when you hear them talk about some of the trials and tribulations they've experienced over the last couple of decades.
Through old concert and TV footage, and interviews with the band members, their parents, their partners and their various producers and managers, 'Beautiful Machine' charts both the band's heady highs and their professional - and personal - lows.
Of course, much of the documentary does focus on the band's disastrous flirtation with the US market and their most unfortunate experiment in changing their name from Shihad to Pacifier. Each of the band members is brutally honest as they discuss that particular chapter in their careers.
That honesty carries on throughout the documentary as it covers (amongst other things), the death of the band's manager, Gerald Dwyer, the volatile relationship between frontman Jon Toogood and his wife Ronise, and Phil Knight's battles with alcohol (it would transpire he has focused his addictions on yoghurt now).
But despite some quite heavy subject material at times, the band's humour is still never far from the surface as they recount some of their better stories in 'Beautiful Machine'.
Oh, and the music throughout the documentary is kick-arse, obviously.
This one's an absolute must-see for Shihad fans. But those who can take or leave the band will still find the documentary an absorbing couple of hours.'Shihad: Beautiful Machine' is in New Zealand cinemas from May 17.