Photographer Kurt Marcus and his son Ian traveled along with Mr. Mellencamp on that 2009 tour documenting not only the concert tour, but his writing and recording of the album No Better Than This. Captured all on Super 8mm with an introspective narration from Kurt Marcus, It’s About You transcends its subject, becoming more than just a document about Mellencamp on the road. Unlike most documentaries of this nature, which can seem self-indulgent, It’s About You isn’t just about Mellencamp, it’s about the Marcuses and, mostly, it’s about Mellencamp’s beloved heartland. It’s a visual postcard of America, a bygone America or the America of books like some stream of consciousness Kerouac novel. It’s visual beauty is at once recognizable by the visual cues of Americana, inspiring, and heartening in its depictions of prosperity and decay. This is a marvelous little indie film that is more than a film about music, it’s a film about the American landscape, the American experience.
This entire production was shot on Super 8mm, so expecting a miraculous high definition reference release on Blu-ray would be absurd. It looks like what it is in this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p/24 transfer from MPI, low-res, gritty, with big thickets of grain, low levels of contrast, at times like old home movies, but with little in the way of source damage.
The audio compliments the quality of the video in that, although a LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit) is offered up and much of the film does consist of complete or nearly complete musical performances, there is very little stereo separation; it’s a very narrow soundfield. With that said, it does have relatively clean dialogue and the overall sound works for the feel they were trying to accomplish here. There are also some moments where the low frequency extension is surprisingly deep and musical.
It’s got zilch, so move on along.
The Definitive Word
Overall: An excellent film that not only encapsulates the decades of Mellencamp’s career, but tells a beautiful story about the country he has been fighting for his entire career. The Marcus team show their undoubted photographic eye in this 8mm production with subtlety and beauty that will linger on in your thoughts long after the credits finish rolling. Recommended