Fans of prog-metal band Tool and its reclusive frontman, Maynard James Keenan, will remain the primary samplers of “Blood Into Wine,” a sharply filmed but narratively fuzzy docu that strains to detail the baldheaded rocker’s viticultural efforts in, of all places, the high desert terroir of northern Arizona. Keenan’s hands-on passion for his Verde Valley grapes appears genuine, though the filmmakers raise doubt by wandering stylistically from sober biography to staged comedy, and geographically from small-town Arizona to Napa. Ultimately, pic plays as a misguided promo tool for Keenan’s Caduceus label, with meager proceeds apt to trickle in from DVD.
Keenan explains his interest in mondovino as stemming from a desire to produce work that’s less aggressive than his Tool tunes. Fronting what he calls an “indie band” of winemakers, with Eric Glomski as its in-studio knob-twiddler, Keenan draws juice from his vineyard despite humidity, bugs and marauding animals. His effort to “court” Wine Spectator magazine’s James Suckling provides a rare taste of drama, until the critic lets slip that he’s a friend of the rock star. Celebrity cameos further one’s impression of the docu as an inside job.