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This is a fan-servicing but not necessarily hagiographic documentary from Australian director Liam Firmager, which recounts the life and career of rocker Suzi Quatro. All the usual stations of the rock-doc biopic cross get a stop-off here, from the humble origins (in the suburbs of Detroit), the slog up the success ladder, collision with the big time, and then the decline, comeback and Hall of Fame phase, often capped by the release of a documentary exactly like this.
Quatro’s story differs from the mean simply because she was one of the very few hard-rocking women in the business in the 70s; she was a mere slip of girl when she hit the big time, barely taller than the bass she played. To the film’s credit, obeisance is paid to the female artists who came before and those who were around at the same time; these include Quatro’s sister, Patti, who Suzi played with in the beat combo the Pleasure Seekers before Suzi went solo and Patti formed the now-cult band Fanny.
The middle section offers a clear-eyed consideration as to why Suzi never really became a headliner in America despite her success in the UK and assorted Eurovision nations, and further afield in Australia and Japan, where her singles regularly went to No 1. And there’s no shortage of tributes from Quatro’s many famous admirers, including Debbie Harry, Tina Weymouth and Chris Franz from the Talking Heads, and no fewer than three of the Runaways – Joan Jett, Cherie Curie and Lita Ford.
A thick impasto of archive material (often annoyingly shown via an on-screen TV set), including the phase when she appeared on Happy Days, fills in the gaps between reminiscences from not just friends and acquaintances but the principals themselves, such as Quatro’s family, and closest collaborators. And of course, interviewed throughout is the woman herself, now pushing 70 and still full of spit and vinegar but also the capacity to laugh at her younger self.
• Suzi Q is released in the UK on 11 October, and in Australia on 20 November
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Suzi Q review – clear-eyed profile of the hard-rocking musical pioneer | Film