Mixed feelings here. On the one hand, this documentary, about a school not dissimilar to the one founded by Jack Black’s character at the end of the fabulous School of Rock, comes across too much like an infomercial for the place. On the other, there’s the founder of it, Paul Green, who I think most sane people would think twice about leaving their children with. He works in a similar way to “American Idol”‘s Simon Cowell, only I found him even more abusive. I don’t really have a problem with cursing in general, even when children are involved, but the way he yells at some of these kids at times, some very young, is simply cruel, and kind of disturbing.
But then there’s the final concert scene at the end, and it’s truly stunning. Green certainly gets results. It’s a weird thing to watch – as a teacher, he seems more interested in perfection than anything else, and that he certainly achieves. When you see some of the kids playing, though, there’s often no interest in their faces, they’re simply playing the notes as taught. There’s skill in their playing, but no life. I guess this is just a personal response to it. That it made me so conflicted is, I guess, an indication of the film making quality.