VOD film review: Downloaded
Bill and Ted!8
Andrew Jones | On 07, Oct 2013
Director: Alex Winters
Cast: Sean Parker, Shawn Fanning, Noel Gallagher
Watch online: iTunes
Alex Winters, of Bill & Ted fame, takes on the story of Napster in Downloaded, a documentary that looks at the origin of the service, its rise to fame, its destruction through copyright and where everyone involved is now – from Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning to musicians and record company execs, who openly discuss everything that happened.
Told in chronological order, Downloaded starts small with the core team behind Napster, but the interviews grow and grow, until Noel Gallagher (among others) pops in to discuss the impact of the site and the prolonged sequence of events that saw Lars Ulrich of Metallica get real angry and real loud – like most of their songs, but in human form.
Downloaded is a real eye-opener because it gets so deep into the side of the story the media didn’t cover at the time. Instead of being an unbiased look at everything, it takes time to really offer Parker and Fanning’s account, although that means it’s a bit in love with them, giving them many opportunities to suggest they are the smartest men in the world.
Downloaded is an interesting documentary; the subject is worth discussing and there are elements that do allow for hindsight, despite it still being relatively recent. But discussing how Napster would have been a world-changing idea had it continued so soon afterwards, like it was the golden age of start-ups, just feels one-sided, short sighted and disappointing. Downloaded does what it does well and uses footage in interesting and fun ways, but it just isn’t quite there.