The Ramones’ sound was explosive. It was a stripped down reaction to the overindulgent rock sound of the 70’s. The Ramones sound may not have been anything strikingly new, but it was fresh for its time. So why should a documentary about the band not have the same affect?
Good documentaries are about access. When a subject opens their life to a filmmaker wonderful things can happen. But access to a willing subject is not enough and good access squandered can lead to dull films. This documentary should have sought access to the Ramones (the band), not its members. There is a distinct difference.
Rather than give access to the shared life of The Ramones, End of the Century isolates each Ramone. The internal friction alluded to by several of The Ramones is never seen. The film becomes a succession of rotating talking heads inter-spliced with recorded proof of the band’s greatness. Sadly, the energy of the live footage does not carry to the interviews. The band does not stand unified by a common name nor does it simmer with the tension heard in their music. Instead, the Ramones are seen as disparate parts; a series of old men telling tales of their glory days.