Review: In 'Moby Doc,' 'Play' maker is his own biggest fan, harshest critic

Documentary looks at life and times of the electronic musician while also questioning the entire notion of music documentaries.

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic

Moby knows you probably don't like him and you probably don't want to see a documentary about him. 

Weirdly, that's why he made "Moby Doc," his unconventional, self-effacing, self-aggrandizing look at his rise and fall (and rise and fall, again) and why any of it matters in the grand scheme of things.  

Moby in "Moby Doc."

In terms of the planets and the universe and the cosmos, the life of the electronic musician, producer and DJ doesn't really matter. But while we're all here on this planet, stories of celebrity are captivating, and Moby's is full of the triumphs and the tragedies, the sex, drugs and rock and roll that we've grown accustom to in these kinds of tales. 

The 55-year-old doesn't tell his story in a linear fashion; there are arty flourishes, "Twin Peaks"-style interludes, moments of staged narratives and a constant questioning of the music documentary form. 

Beyond those matters — some of which work, others which don't — there's the story of Richard Melville Hall, a loner born in Harlem who gravitated toward music and animals because people never quite made sense to him. Naturally, he went on to be a global star and was forced to deal with everything that came along with it, good and bad. Moonshots and crash landings ensue. 

Director Rob Gordon Bralver frames "Moby Doc" as a farce, a peek behind the curtain and ultimately as a cautionary tale of fame, and in it Moby comes off as a ball of contradictions: sad, confident, vulnerable, human, indestructible. Say what you will about the man, there's nothing you can come up with that he hasn't already said or thought about himself.


'Moby Doc'


Not rated: language

Running time: 92 minutes

Available On Demand