"I’d pay her to come to my house and sing because this shit fucking moves me," so says Amy Winehouse’s producer Salaam Remi. And it’s hard to disagree. What you take from Amy, Asif Kapadia’s long-awaited follow up to Senna, what you feel when the credits roll, is a loss for a talent gone all too soon.
ike Senna, Kapadia is drawn once more to a star whose life was tragically cut short. The director’s problem here, however, is that while Senna was news to anyone outside the Formula 1 world, most, if not all, of the information in Amy has been well documented.
here are some wonderful early scenes of Amy scurrying around the UK promoting her first single but the time in and around debut album Frank is mostly skipped over in favour of exploring the inspiration and recording process of the multi award-winning Back To Black. Portrayed as 'gobby' in the media, Kapadia here captures Winehouse’s playfulness (her reaction when she’s compared to Dido) and humility (her nervousness during her duet with idol Tony Bennett). There’s also the relationship with her father, not shown in the best light after bringing a film crew to St. Lucia in 2009 where Winehouse at time was recuperating in private. This is strong material.
ut at times Kapadia can’t help his documentary veer into E! territory as Winehouse and Fielder-Civil battle with their drug addiction. The ominous music that soundtracks the slow motion scenes are tacky and it can feel like there’s nothing separating this documentary and the paparazzi plague driving Winehouse to distraction. But when Kapadia drops this tabloid approach - like when she pulled a friend to one side moments after her Grammy win and confessed, "This is boring without drugs," and the disastrous Serbian concert when she refused to sing - Amy becomes a touching and harrowing tale.