Well, the time has come to pound the table again. You’ll read these words many times again before January, but pay close attention now – Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s Muscle Shoals isn’t just the best music documentary since Ondi Timoner’s 2004 masterpieceDig!. It’s the best documentary of the year, whether you’re a music lover or not. And it’s not particularly close.
The documentary is about the beginnings and heyday of the recording scene in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, a tiny town that improbably changed the face of rock and roll, putting out along the way some of the greatest records in the history of American music. Many of those moments are recounted to great effect in the film; first-timer Camalier is obviously a natural storyteller. But there’s so much more to the doc – the cinematography is lush and beautiful, the editing is crisp and precise, and it’s in turns heartbreaking, inspiring, wry, thought-provoking, nostalgic, and genuinely funny. It’s simply a stunning debut film.