The fragile folk pop of boyish fortysomething Ron Sexsmith, a Canadian singer-songwriter-cum-balladeer, has managed to strike unique chords for nearly two decades. Alas, Sexsmith portrait “Love Shines” remains a pretty standard run-through of the oft-covered docu ditty about an acclaimed but uncommercial musician’s struggle to overcome the forces, artistic and personal, that keep him from stardom. Not strictly for Sexsmith fans, but too fawning to earn its nonfiction bona fides, the pic sounds maddeningly one-note even as the artist hires heavy-metal producer Bob Rock to make his new songs zing. “Shines” stands to see daylight through Canadian cable play.Familiar to rock-docu geeks as the droll straight man in Metallica’s “Some Kind of Monster,” Rock is seen twiddling the knobs in 2009 as Sexsmith fine-tunes the lovely tracks on “Late Bloomer,” his still-unreleased 12th album. Other scenes stretch as far back as 2003, as the shy and slightly pudgy Sexsmith visits his childhood home in St. Catharines, Ontario, and as far forward as months ago, with better-known musicians such as Sheryl Crow and Elvis Costello droning on about what an underappreciated genius Sexsmith is. Tech credits, including sound, are tops.
A Paperny Films production, in association with the Movie Network and Movie Central. Produced by Karen Melvin, Trevor Hodgson. Executive producers, Douglas Arrowsmith, Stuart Coxe, David Paperny, Cal Shumiatcher, Audrey Mehler. Directed, written by Douglas Arrowsmith.
Camera (color/B&W, HD), Colin Allison; editor, Ed Martinez; music, Ron Sexsmith. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival (Canadian Images), Oct. 8, 2010. Running time: 80 MIN.
Ron Sexsmith, Elvis Costello, Leslie Feist, Bob Rock, Daniel Lanois, Sheryl Crow, Christopher Sexsmith, Andy Kim, Steve Earle, Kiefer Sutherland, Steve Grodesky, Evelyne Sexsmith, Kevin Hearn, Gordon Lightfoot.