SXSW Film Review: Breaking a Monster

Kids today, with their million-dollar recording contracts...

Metal and punk recognize no age boundaries, as Austinites know (hey, Residual Kid!). Almost anywhere else though, an African-American metal band too young to get behind the wheel of a car is a major story. And Breaking a Monster is that story.

A trio called Unlocking the Truth – made up of extroverted fronted Malcolm Brickhouse, bassist Alec Atkins, and thunderous drummer Jarad Dawkins — first hit national radar after The New York Times published a an article on the band in August of 2014. What’s great about Luke Meyer’s affectionate doc Breaking a Monster is how it chooses to focus on this new-school band and its relationship with old-school music titan and Disney producer Alan Sacks (he handled the Jonas Brothers, once upon a time). The old white guy and the young black kids often seem at odds; Brickhouse tells Sacks that “I’m not stupid. I know it’s about the money.” That’d be Sony’s $1.8 million recording contract, inked before the band even had a single. Breaking a Monster is – weirdly, appropriately – the obverse of the Metallica doc Some Kind of Monster: Sweet, savvy kids aiming to take on fame despite the surreality of the situation and all that that entails.

Breaking a Monster

Documentary Competition
Friday, March 20, 6:15pm, Stateside

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SXSW Film, SXSW, Breaking a Monster, Unlocking the Truth, Malcolm Brickhouse, Alec Atkins, Jarad Dawkins, Luke Meyers, Alan Sacks, SXSW Film 2015

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