It's impossible to engage with this glib film, which feels like a very long mobile-phone advert
In 2013, artist Doug Aitken took dozens of musicians, writers and artists – including Patti Smith, Cat Power and Beck – for a coast-to-coast train ride across America, stopping off for “happenings” along the way. Frustratingly, his film of the trip is comprised of 61 minute-long sequences, ensuring that whenever the camera captures anything interesting – say, Giorgio Moroder composing to the rhythm of the rails or the breathtaking landscape – it’s gone before you can absorb it. And thus it’s impossible to engage: the thoughtful becomes glib. It’s like watching a very long mobile-phone advert, every surge of inspiration feels staged and stilted, each moment of artistic sincerity feels like it’s been left in by accident.