Jason Becker: Not Dead YetNo doubt we’re talking about a devastating premise here. A story that makes you lose the will to live and forces you to reflect on the meaning of life, the point in all of this, the injustice, the destiny, the inevitability of death, and ultimately, the immorality and lack of humour that is very often to be found in the hand of fate. However, the film that Jesse Vile delivers doesn’t for a minute allow his subject to become pitiable in his audience’s eyes. His bad luck makes him tragic, but his way of taking it all raises him to a heroic level. His story breaks our hearts, but his emotional strength lifts our spirits. And in the end, Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet is the most powerful showcase of human spirit, genuine talent, rock star quality and true love.

Jason Becker: Not Dead YetA rock wonder kid, Jason Becker started playing guitar when he was just five years old and landed his first serious record deal before he had turned sixteen. After having been recognised by major record label producer Mike Varney, Jason was produced and featured on Varney’s labels alongside ground-breaking musicians such as Steve Vai and Eddie Van Halen. This quickly led to Becker being taken in by David Lee Roth as the lead guitarist for his next band after Van Halen. The 19-year-old Jason replaced Steve Vai, who had just left the band in order to join Whitesnake.

However, just as everything seemed to be taking off and his musical career was about to explode, Jason experienced the ultimate fall. He was diagnosed with Lou Garrick’s disease and was given three to five years to live. As the title brutally states, Jason never accepted this limited amount of surviving time that the doctors predicted — and this is why he’s still here, composing music, living off rock ‘n’ roll and refusing to go anywhere until he’s finished what he came here to do. Now, twenty years later, without being able to move, speak or play music, Jason Becker still creates, still inspires, still rocks.

Jason Becker: Not Dead YetJesse Vile achieves something great in Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet. He allows his audience not only to follow a story, but to really get to know its hero. This film is not about the tragedy of a very talented musician, but about the musician himself. It’s about his great gift that — against all odds — didn’t go to waste, it’s about his ambitions, his dreams, Jason’s warm, funny and cool personality, his loving family and dedicated friends. It’s about the power that music and love can encompass and the spiritual strength that can make doctors look like idiots. And it’s a film which never allows itself to become overly sentimental.

Vile stays out of this from beginning to end. He doesn’t interfere, he doesn’t feel sorry for anyone, but he doesn’t attempt any hero worshipping either. He merely approaches, watches, presents and leaves his viewers to decide for themselves. He doesn’t dictate his audience how to feel nor does he try to devastate them in order to get himself a strong film. Besides, his documentary’ subject, as well as the rare story that he has to tell, are so powerful, so poignant and warm, that the filmmaker soon realises that the farther away he stays, the more of the real Jason Becker his audience will get to discover and enjoy.

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet is a film that shows a great deal of respect to a very strong man and pays tribute to a wonderful musician. Jesse Vile tells a highly inspirational story, full of soul and tenderness and delivers a documentary that reminds us that only love and rock can beat this thing…

Read also

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet at IMDb
Jason Becker at Wikipedia
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet at Rotten Tomatoes
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet (awards won and nominated for) at IMDb
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet official website

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