Man in the Camo Jacket (2017)

This documentary shows the rise to fame of The Alarm member Mike Peters, the slowdown of his career, his fight with cancer, and how he turned all it around by helping the cancer cause and getting back into performing.

The film, directed by Russ Kendall, covers the early career of Mike Peters all the way through his leaving The Alarm, his solo work, his getting sick, and his charity work.  The way he follows Peters and does interviews with some of his contemporaries shows the man in a good light but also shows a snippet of musical history that happens in the 80s and lead to Peters and his band The Alarm to rise to stardom with lyrics that reached audiences and touched them.  After he disappeared for a while and came back, it’s clear in this documentary that he still reached his audience and made a difference.  Peters is shown as a somewhat stubborn man who doesn’t give up, may it be to be successful in music or to beat a disease.  The film shows this and how Peters has affected people not just in the music industries but around the world.  The way this film is shot is clearly in a manner to make Peters look good, but it also deals with his imperfections and issues that may have led to his group’s disbanding.

This is all shot with cinematography by Stash Slionski who uses different looks for interviews and for the shots showing Peters’ life with his wife, his band, his charity.  This all comes together with archival footage for a look that works most of the time, with some bits here and there that don’t work as well, but give the age of the archival footage and how it was shot, it works well.  All the styles put together create an interesting look and helps all the content come together to paint a fuller picture of the main subject.

Of course, this documentary is filled with music as the lead is a musician.  This includes his own work as a solo artist and as part of the The Alarm, which some may be discovering for the first time here, as well as work by others peppered here and there.  Mostly, it’s about Mike Peters, so it’s also about his music.  They do manage to achieve this without being too constantly “in your face” about it.  It’s there, especially when other musical artists talk about him and through the archival footage, but it’s not all about the music here.  The music adds to the subject without taking away from it.

Man in the Camo Jacket is an interesting documentary about a man and his constant fight to be on top, to be a success, to survive, and to be himself.  It’s an easy watch and should find its audience without problem.