Air Guitar Nation

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The ViewHamilton Review

Review byMatthew Turner7/11/2007

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 81 mins

Hugely entertaining, frequently hilarious documentary with colourful, warm-hearted characters and an infectious energy that'll send you bouncing out of the cinema with a goofy grin on your face.

What's it all about?
Directed by Alexandra Lipsitz, Air Guitar Nation briefly outlines the origins of the Air Guitar World Championships (held annually in Oulu, Finland), before noting that, as of 2003 (the year the film was made) there had never been an American competitor. Seeking to address that injustice, two die-hard air guitar fans organise a regional competition in New York, where we meet winner C-Diddy (aka actor-comedian David Jung) and frustrated runner-up Bjorn Turoque (aka Dan Crane).

C-Diddy then takes on the west coast winner (Gordon Hintz) before heading to Finland to face stiff competition from the seasoned European contenders. Meanwhile, Bjorn refuses to take defeat lying down, first wangling his way into the LA heat and then travelling to Finland to compete as an independent.

The Good
The majority of the film focuses on Jung and Crane, both of whom are extremely funny characters with a neat line in deadpan humour. Jung in particular completely wins you over to the ridiculousness of it all, because despite performing in a Hello Kitty-emblazoned red satin robe, he's actually a breath-takingly good air guitarist.

There are several terrific scenes, some of which are genuinely moving, such as Jung's parents reactions to seeing him perform in Finland. Similarly, there's an infectious energy to the performances that ought to inspire air-aoke parties everywhere (like karaoke, only with air guitars).

The Great
Essentially, Air Guitar Nation is this year's Spellbound, as it's both moving and laugh-out-loud funny, while the competition itself turns out to be unexpectedly gripping. The film even makes the case for air guitar contributing to world peace with the slogan Make Air, Not War, because, as Crane rightly points out, if you're holding an air guitar, then you can't hold a rifle.

Worth seeing?
In short, Air Guitar Nation is one of the best documentaries of the year. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll practise air guitar moves in the privacy of your own bedroom. Unmissable.

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Content updated: 20/05/2019 18:26

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