Review of: The Legend of Gideon Smith: The Warrior Spirit
By: guest reviewer Deanna St. Croix
There was recently a release of an independent art house film based upon early events in the life of Gideon Smith. Gideon is a singer, songwriter, poet, life student and Zen master. The movie is based upon the book by Gideon Smith: The Way of the Outlaw Spirit. This experimental film weaves together a collage of Zen and bad ass situations which are crucial to the creation of Gideon Smith - legend and warrior. Part experimental indie film and part found footage, this film attempts to develop a complex character and history by piecing together existential and gritty reality-based scenes making for a unique blend, indeed.
Each scene is a recreation of crucial events in Gid's life, as played out by actors, collaborators and friends. Each vignette presented here is a significant event in the formation of the mystical strong man and musician. What made Gideon the philosophical, down-to-earth, well loved and respected man so many love and admire? It isn't just his kick ass music, of which we are treated to throughout the short film, it is also the impact that these life events had on Gideon making him what he is and why he came to mean so much to so many.
The only downfall is the sound quality, especially in the first live gig scene and the editing could have been better executed to convey the same ideas and expectations (some single focus shots may appear too long). The symbolism involved in setting the mood was well done, as parts of the film has little to no dialogue. In these moments, we are left with the power of the nonverbal imagery that inspires a dialogue about life and death as it relates to the formation of music, words and one man's existential journey.
I very much enjoyed the conversation in the limo and where that led. That scene had a very distinct Tarantino vibe. The overall acting was good and the imagery powerful in this tale that needed to be told. How much can a single event impact someone; like the death of a friend, strife and conflict, parties, rock clubs and the late nights? We often forget we are who we are because of the effect of crucial events and people in our lives. Each contributing to the whole, in this film we get a glimpse of the people and events that shaped Gideon Smith.
If you have read Gid's book and are expecting all of the writer's intricate nuance and insight, forget it. This is an experimental art house film and it is up to the viewer to piece together the story as told by the director while sifting through the symbolism of the film. However, that being said, the story does get told in small relevant pieces (many of them powerful, existential and symbolic). One scene is particularly emotionally powerful: the death of a friend. I teared up here and it was the director's focus and intention that made this happen.
Overall, this is a decent attempt at portraying the complicated and deep life of one of North Americas best loved and respected musicians. The making of the film itself is a testament to the respect so many have for Gideon Smith and is a microcosm of how well loved and respected he is. A man who may appear bad ass is actually a kind, caring soul who is seeking and imparting truth through knowledge and experience with words and music.
*Photograph courtesy of Ann Norment.
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