I’m not sure that the UK music industry has gotten over the death of Amy Winehouse in 2011, from alcohol poisoning.
It’s that very story that is captured through the 2015 documentary ‘Amy’ directed by Asif Kapadia (whose previous work includes Senna – an equally touching film).
There is a significant amount of footage that has been acquired by Kapadia and his team for the film, ranging from early home video through to concert footage of her last performances.
There is a real sense of watching a car crash in slow motion with no ability to prevent it, through the film as we see the singer becoming increasing reliant on drugs and alcohol, and the impacts both to her performances, but herself.
Its painful to watch at times and terribly sad and, intentionally by the film makers or not, her father certainly comes out of the film poorly seemingly attempting to ensure that she met contractual requirements rather than seeking listing help for her addictions. We get a sense from her friends of their own torment as they tried to save the singer from herself and the chaos that she found herself in.
Her death still came as a shock even though her problems had been well documented and there was at times a slight feeling of inevitability about the outcome. Certainly her song ‘rehab’ now has now taken on a very different feeling.
What Amy Winehouse left behind was a huge impact on the music industry and even with the limited output that she was able to produce (only producing two studio albums before her death) we get a real sense of her talent, and so sadly her potential that a longer life would have potentially allowed.
The film is beautifully made and holds your attention throughout. As I write this it has already been nominated for an oscar which I would say is thoroughly deserved.
She was our Billie Holiday and had so much more to offer, but she needed more help than she got.
“Every bad situation is a blues song waiting to happen” – Amy Winehouse