December 2nd, 2011 | Published in Reviews
In an age of MP3s and digital downloads, record shop proprietor Tom Butchart faces a daily battle to keep Middlesbrough’s Sound It Out Records alive. But as Jeanie Finlay’s documentary records, he’s got a passionate tribe of record lovers to help him do it.
Documentarian Jeanie Finlay literally made a film about the shop around her corner. While lamenting the demise of the traditional record store, she charts the efforts of Teesside vinyl proprietor Tom Butchart of Sound It Out to simply survive in a hopeless climate. With next to no budget, her approach is inescapably lo-fi, the static camera reporting on the shop’s regular, and mostly eccentric, clientele: an almost solely male breed who cling to music and, more pertinently, the collecting of music like a life raft. The High Fidelity-oop-north tag fits, but is far from the whole story — with consummate skill, and genuine empathy for her own tribe, Finlay honours the shop as a place of communion for often desolate lives, with Butchart their pragmatic priest.
Proof that, in the right hands, documentaries boast as much heart as any feature. This one got soul too. Wonderful.
Reviewer: Ian Nathan