SXSW: “I GET KNOCKED DOWN”
By David Baldwin
If you were a child of the ’90s, there is absolutely no way you were able to escape “Tubthumping”. That song was everywhere and so was the Band who sang it, Chumbawamba. Dunstan Bruce was the Band’s frontman, and now 20+ years after the release of that one-hit wonder, is not sure how to stay visible in a rapidly-deteriorating world. Haunted by the adult manifestation of the baby on the Band’s album cover, Bruce must question everything he was a part of before and find a way to become relevant again.
Part-Documentary, part-Mockumentary, part-fever dream, and part-dystopic hellscape. I feel like that just about covers the anarchistic style of I GET KNOCKED DOWN, which obviously takes its title from the lyrics of Chumbawamba’s hit song. The Film is all of these things at once, and feels like a bold example of avant-garde narrative that really stretches the limits and patience of its audience. When it is acting as a Documentary however, it brings together a wealth of vintage interview clips, candid clips from the Band living together and their first shows, and new clips of Bruce interviewing his Bandmates about what the song and accompanying album meant to them and how it has lead them to where they are now. I did not know much about the Band prior to watching the Film, and learning of their Punk anarchist roots, it makes sense that the Film is such a wildly chaotic pastiche of ideas and styles. Bruce holds the whole thing together, with his interactions with the baby’s adult manifestation really honing-in on his bizarre sense of humour.
Not all of it works of course, and a deviation into Bruce’s new Music at the end and a take on a pivotal scene from Reservoir Dogs really do not add much to everything that came before it. When the Film is celebrating the importance of “Tubthumping” and discussing what the Band did with its newfound fame and influence is where it really shines. I wanted more of that, and a lot less of the surreal nonsense in-between. I would be hard-pressed to suggest it is anything but a true original though.
I GET KNOCKED DOWN screens at SXSW ’22 as follows:
Friday, March 11 at 9:45PM EST – Alamo Lamar B
Tuesday, March 15 at 11:30PM EST – Alamo Lamar E
Sunday, March 13 at 10:00AM EST – Available for 48 Hours