What We Do Is Secret (2007)

Forget the truth. Accept your curse.

What We Do Is Secret fails in the way so many bio-pics fail. Loaded with hindsight, the film places excess significance on events, that at the time of the occurrence, would most likely seem trivial or mundane. Worse than other biographical films this flashy story of Darby Crash and the Germs makes the huge mistake of trying to capture the look and feel of a documentary. This is an especially troubling decision given that a good portion of the film models itself after Penelope Spheeris’ documentary The Decline of Western Civilization. The film makes knowing references to Spheeris’ work, there is even a character playing the part of Spheeris, but What We Do is Secret fails to capture the rather human, and somewhat embarrassing, traits of Darby Crash. You have to watch Spheeris’ documentary for those glimpses of reality.  Where as, What We Do Is Secret mythologies and canonizes Crash and the Germs. While I do not question the significance of The Germs to the Los Angeles punk scene or their place in rock history, I find the level to which Crash is vaulted and the depth of his perceived genius to be somewhat ridiculous. Even as a fan, this is too much.

Watching this film only reinforces my appreciation for films like Sid and Nancy or Coal Miner’s Daughter. It even has me reconsidering Last Days in spite of Van Sant’s indulgent faults.

It’s also quite laughable to see the present day band The Bronx playing Black Flag.

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