“Last Fast Ride: The Life, Love and Death of a Punk Goddess” spins an all-too-familiar tale of an aggressively outrageous performer who’s undone by inner demons and self-indulgence. Filmmaker Lily Scourtis Ayers’ portrait of punk rocker Marian Anderson — who died of a heroin overdose in 2001 at age 33 — is a technically proficient collage of interviews with Anderson’s intimates, performance tapes and archival footage in a variety of formats. Given the relative obscurity of its subject, however, this sympathetic but downbeat doc is at best an iffy prospect for even limited theatrical play. Homevid and niche cable beckon.
To its credit, pic comes off as subdued and non-exploitative – no mean feat considering Anderson’s raunchy onstage antics included bellowed profanities, urination and, during at least one notorious Berkeley club date, sexual shenanigans with a banana. (Between gigs, she occasionally worked as a dominatrix.) Former bandmates and long-time lover Danielle Santos Bernal (one of the doc’s associate producers) indicate the singer-songwriter was psychologically scarred by her sexually abusive father. She went to extremes, they suggest, because she didn’t know where else to go. Narration by Henry Rollins is aptly low-key and nonjudgmental.