Rage Against The Machine - Okayplayer

Rage Against The Machine

by Ginger Lynn
10 years ago

For the average Rage Against The Machine listener, this DVD may have too much information. For those who love Rage’s sound and message, you will enjoy this DVD as it examines the band’s place in political protest music. Another aspect I really enjoyed as a Rage fan was the deeper look into the various causes that Rage supported and promoted.

Opening with some powerful footage from the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, the DVD connects the political riot with Rage’s influence on young progressives throughout the 90’s. The DVD ends on the same note; we are taken to the Michael Moore directed music video “Sleep Now In The Fire,” which was shot on the steps of Wall Street, disrupting the flow of guppies and investment bankers for hours.

The documentary also juxtaposes Rage Against The Machine’s political influence with less contemporary political musicians like Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan. They also take a look at some of Rage’s primary musical influences like Public Enemy and The Clash. There are some great clips of live performances and music videos of these groups as well as clips from Rage’s music videos, live performances, and controversial protests.

Though this documentary mostly praises Rage for their political influences, it also provides criticism to their paradoxical rise to fame through the “machine” of the major record label Epic. Another criticism provided is the timing of the band’s breakup, which occurred right before the 2000 election of President Bush.

The DVD succeeds in providing background information on the various causes that Rage Against The Machine rallied behind, such as  Mumia Abu-Jamaal’s quest for freedom and the Zapatista movement in Mexico. It also covers Rage’s most infamous protest in which they stood on stage naked, with duct tape covering their mouths, and the letters PMRC written across their chests (protesting the censorship prompted by the Parents Music Resource Center). An uncensored photo, shown in the documentary, finally reveals to us the balls behind Rage’s music.

– Eli Evnen

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