Director: Emer Reynolds
I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a film about Phil Lynott made before now. There are a fair few documentaries on Thin Lizzy but there was certainly room for the story to be told. In ‘Songs For While I’m Away’ we hear of the struggles of growing up in Dublin after Phillip is brought to live with his grandparents by his mother who has had to make the awful decision to leave her son and return to England to work. Phillip does indeed learn to look after himself from an early age. He turns to music and soon meets Brian Downey(Thin Lizzy drummer). Eric Bell(guitarist) introduces himself to the pair and Thin Lizzy(version one) is on the road.
The film mixes the words and music of Phillip with interviews that include one of his ex-girlfriends, his ex-wife, and his daughters all of whom have remained away from the spotlight in the years since Phillip died. There are also interviews with Brush Shiels/Brian Downey/Scot Gorham/Adam Clayton/James Hetfield/Suzi Quatro/Midge Ure and others. The film paints a portrait of Phillip the poet, boyfriend, husband, father. The Phil Lynott that’s not always portrayed or remembered when we think of him. There’s a piece in the film that shows Phillip with his shirt collars ‘down’ which certainly isn’t the Phillip I remember. Thin Lizzy broke down so many boundaries of religion/race/musical genres. Thin Lizzy were one of the few bands that punks kept onside when they came to mop up the old guard in 1976. This film doesn’t mention it at all. There are so many faces missing from this story. Genuine fans for starters. Every year on the anniversary of his death fans get together in Dublin for ‘The Vibe for Philo’. Many fans travel from all over the world to attend and celebrate the life and music of Philo’. This doesn’t get a mention. I was looking forward to seeing Philo and Lizzy on the big screen and maybe hearing some new tales or even some old ones told by those who were there. Top of the missing list are Brian Robertson, Tony Visconti, Bob Geldof, Steve Jones, Shane McGowan & Bono just for starters.
I cannot help thinking that if there was a film to be made about Phillip Lynott there would have to be an exceedingly good reason why it wouldn’t be called ’The Rocker’. This film is a missed opportunity to capture the legend that was Phil Lynott. I was looking forward to coming away from this film full of life and my heart beating a little faster. I was left feeling slightly cheated. It’s not a bad film by any means but it’s just not ‘The Rocker’ I was expecting.
Might appeal to people who enjoyed:
Dinos bar & grill, Rockers in rose-tinted glasses