Think of “It’s About You” as the “Tree of Life” of rock-docs: a movie so in love with atmospherics and self-examination that it completely loses track of its subject.
As rock documentaries go, “It’s About You,” ostensibly a film about John Mellencamp by photographer Kurt Markus and his son, Ian, is both insubstantial and self-indulgent. While the Markuses had an all-access pass to film Mellencamp as he performed and recorded on the 2009 tour (with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson) that ultimately produced his 2010 album, “No Better Than This,” that was as close as they ever got. You never even see Dylan or Nelson.
According to Markus’ voice-over narration, Mellencamp invited Markus to film the tour – and he and his son decided to shoot it on Super-8, as well as with digital and still cameras. While criss-crossing the country, Mellencamp stopped to do some rootsy recording – simple microphones, reel-to-reel tape decks – in places like an Alabama church and the original Sun recording studios.
Well, not that rootsy. He does have producer T-Bone Burnett along to honcho the sessions. Think of it as cutting-edge roots or, perhaps, faux roots.
This review continues on my website.