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Doc 'Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock' is as wild as its rock photographer subject

Doc 'Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock' is as wild as its rock photographer subject
David Bowie, left, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed from the documentary "Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra Of Rock." (Magnolia Pictures / Magnolia Pictures)

Meet Mick Rock. He's a British rock photographer who shot the most enduring images of our most indelible rock stars and yes, that's his real name. Director Barnaby Clay chronicles the life and times of the man behind the lens in the documentary "Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock."

It seems there's no shortage of appetite for stories stemming from the heady, halcyon days of '70s rock — of glam and punk and the world-changing, gender-bending influence of David Bowie and Freddie Mercury and Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. Rock, with his endless boxes of personal archives and recorded cassette tapes of cocaine-fueled late night chats with these icons, is the perfect conduit for these tales, informed by an upright Cambridge education coupled with lysergic acid-enhanced adventures.

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The best moments of the film are Rock sifting through his prints and contact sheets, ruminating on a shoot: how he captured a moment, his varied inspirations, technical details. But Clay has too many creative ideas about how to tell Rock's tale, which hamper rather than help the narrative and style of "Shot!" He piles on dramatic reenactments and abstract and hallucinatory animations that only distract and detract from the story. The maximalist approach isn't necessary to enhance the wild tales, but the film does reflect its subject in its messy yet invigorating approach.

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'Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra Rock'

Not rated

Running time: 91 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

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