BUILDING A BROKEN MOUSETRAP (director: Jem Cohen; cinematographers: Peter Sillen/Jem Cohen/MattBoyd; editors: Jem Cohen/MattBoyd; music: Ex; Runtime: 62; MPAA Rating: NR; Gravity Hill Film; 2006)

"It's an oddball documentary that hit all the right chords."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Jem Cohen ("Benjamin Smoke"/"Museum Hours") directs this engaging low-budget rock concert film of the Ex, an anarchist musical ensemble from the Netherlands who began in the 1970s as a punk rock band. The documentary was shot in both 16mm film and DV. The band played in NYC on September 2004, just after the Republican Convention in the city and on the third anniversary of 9/11. The gifted band played at the Knitting Factory, whose music was captured on camera. The first part is filmed in black-and-white and the second part in color, starting with the war on terrorism song “Confusion Errorist.” There are many political songs, including one about Henry Kissinger. There's also a consumer conscience one about an Installment Plan Man, a gritty feminist one called Sister and an inventive noisy avant-garde one called "The Iduuno Law." The pic also filmed location shots of the bustling city, with sights such as the Empire State Building and the construction sites in both the Big Apple and Amsterdam.

The band consists of vocalist G.W. Sok; Ketherina Ex is a drummer; the guitar players are Terrie Ex, Andy Moore and Rozemarie.

It's an oddball documentary that hit all the right chords for the innovative and energetic non-commercial band, who still have the bite to be edgy and snarling without getting up on a soapbox.

REVIEWED ON 8/8/2013       GRADE: A-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"