The Clash: Westway to the World (2000)

Genres - Music  |   Sub-Genres - Biography, Music History, Vocal Music  |   Countries - United States   |  
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Review by Elbert Ventura

Don Letts' Westway to the World benefits from the visceral charge its subject provides. A straightforward account of the career of the Clash, the movie boasts exclusive interviews with the band's members, as well as thrilling concert footage of the band, whose best moments came before the advent of MTV. (Alas, none of the concert footage shows a song in its entirety.) The documentary touches on the milestones that hardcore fans already know about, but also offers a slew of interesting anecdotes that illuminate the band's art. The band members, now almost two decades removed from the maelstrom that they caused, come across as wise and thoughtful elder spokesmen. Although all the band members evince a sense of historical perspective and emanate regular-guy affability, the undoubted star of the show is lead singer and ideological point man Joe Strummer. Waxing eloquent about his band and its politics, Strummer shows not a little regret about the premature folding of the group because of personnel turmoil. Equally poignant is drummer Topper Headon's apology for his drug addiction, which he acknowledges was a factor in the decline and fall of the group. Revelatory and intriguing, Westway to the World is a must-see for Clash devotees, and an excellent primer for new converts.