REVIEW: Artifact (2012 – Documentary)

The documentary Artifact, directed by Jared Leto (as Bartholomew Cubbins), tells the story of how his band Thirty Seconds to Mars fought the record label EMI. In what is an interesting tale of wronged people fighting back in real life – we are also introduced to the rest of the music world – and we see just how unjust labels are in today’s society.

Now, I’ve said multiple times that I’m a big fan of Thirty Seconds to Mars, but I’ve tried to remain as unbiased as possible in reviewing this documentary. I fully expected to see how their own journey was, but I was surprised at how encompassing their journey was. Not only do we follow the Letos and Tomo, but we also hear from leading musicians from Linkin Park, System of a Down and so on and so forth. It’s really interesting to get an idea of what they went through, and what musicians generally go through – getting bankrupt because of their record label. It’s a sad story, and as Jared reflects later – even if they win, is there really anything to cheer for.

The documentary touches upon David v Goliath, and the idea that you should ‘stick it to the man’ – but one thing that surprised me was how uncentralized the documentary was. What I mean is that this isn’t just the central story of them battling the record label, and other musicians struggling. A big part of the documentary is about showing everyone the origin of the band. I like hearing it, but I don’t think it’s the time or place for this origin story.

Overall Score: 7.7 out of 10. An entertaining documentary that showcases the frustrating lives of modern day musicians. While interesting, though, it does tend to veer from the theme at hand by showcasing an origin story.

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