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Jem Cohen & Matt Boyd

Building a Broken Mousetrap: The Ex in New York City



Fugazi, Vic Chesnutt and Atlanta's Smoke are/were all character-driven acts who found themselves the focus of director Jem Cohen's documentary films. They make music, not simply as a means of artistic expression, but because they would blow like pressure cookers if they didn't. Dutch avant-garde politico punk band the Ex is no different. Cohen captures the group with a concert film of a rare NYC appearance in September 2004.

Shaky camera movements and alternating color to black-and-white footage of the performance, mixed with various city scenes, capture the manic energy that is so often associated with the group. As a poignant artistic expression, a live film is a powerful means of tastefully portraying the Ex without delving into heavy-handed political spiels, leaving plenty of room for interpretation. 3 stars.

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