The name Daniel Johnston is hardly a household one but to those in the know the man is a towering legend of indie rockdom whose groupies have included Kurt Cobain, Sonic Youth and Matt Groening of The Simpsons fame. Teetering for years between bouts of unbridled creative genius and lengthy periods of near insanity Johnston emerges from director Jeff Feuerzeig's extensively researched portrait as a unique spirit struggling to escape the demon of mental illness. The result is a fascinating, must-see glimpse into the world of creative genius which won director Feuerzeig an award for best direction at Sundance.
Johnston is outed as a man who once led a double life as a burger flipper at McDonald’s by day and a cult musician by night.in a film that reveals many more idiosyncrasies about this eccentric artist . After appearing on a television spot in Austin, Texas, Johnston experienced a profound bout of mental illness which kept him in and out of institutions for years. But Johnston’s battle for sanity would ultimately inspire an entire catalogue of unusual and inspirational music. The musicians uncompromising approach to his art has often labelled him an ‘outsider’ but Feurezeig’s film praises artists like Johnston for the very same qualities mainstream music eschews.
Stylishly juggling talking heads, archival footage, home movies, and animation The Devil and Daniel Johnston is an emotive portrait of a man who never lost touch with what he held most dear to him; his music. HH