LoudQUIETloud
(MVD Entertainment Group)

Directors Steven Cantor and Matthew Galkin were given remarkable access while chronicling the Pixies’ 2004 reunion tour, documenting everything from the group’s first rehearsal to its final encore. The movie begins with the aging band members finding themselves at loose ends: Guitarist Joey Santiago is a father struggling to support his family, drummer David Lovering is a cabaret magician sleeping on friends’ couches, bassist Kim Deal is fresh out of rehab and living with her parents, and front man Frank Black is newly divorced and dealing with the fact that his solo career will always be overshadowed by his former band. The reunion — sparked by a deep personal and financial need — is greeted with an unexpected level of enthusiasm and sellout crowds. Despite the reception, once the band gets back together, the reasons for their early-’90s split seem as fresh as ever. “It’s like we never broke up,” offers an exasperated Black. The first part of the film effectively contrasts the power of the music they make with their utter inability to communicate with one another offstage, while the second half finds Lovering slowly unraveling amid a haze of pill and drink after his father’s death. Though constantly engaging, the film doesn’t ever quite find its center. Most of it plays like a detailed study of band dynamics, but then, while striving to be a road film and travelogue, it switches its attention to Lovering’s personal breakdown. Still, the filmmakers’ cameras roam freely — from inside hotel bathrooms to preshow huddles to the group’s mini-intervention to save Lovering — creating a series of compelling vignettes that keeps you in rapt attention. The lasting feeling LoudQUIETloud leaves behind is a kind of sadness, though — a frustration that the Pixies’ alchemical power onstage will never be enough to bridge the gap between them as people. — Bob Bozorgmehr