A departure from the usual overwrought fare, it seems that Skynyrd has finally received a multidimensional documentary of their calamitous career. Focusing primarily on Ronnie Van Zandt – an obvious image for the group – Gone With The Wind consults the remaining band members and other Skynyrd comrades to wax poetic on the meteoric rise of unlikely stars.
It’s not difficult to find oneself rooting for Van Zandt amidst the forthcoming inevitability of tragedy. It’s not that Van Zandt consistently got a bad rap, more often he got painted as a simple frontman. Gone With The Wind displays Van Zandt’s inner Anglophile and his lifelong aspirations towards the Stones and Cream alike. Van Zandt’s fervor to push the band past the limits of southern rock rebels becomes entirely palpable when told by Ed King or Artimus Pyle, both of whom still appear floored at the late singer’s undertakings. Even more joyous is when Skynyrd finally topple Mick and the boys at Knebworth Festival and become their own archetype rather than fulfilling Jagger’s.
Still, the film has a difficult time grappling with Skynyrd’s social positioning (i.e. “Sweet Home Alabama,” the Confederate Flag adorning the stage during their live performances) and overall fan base from its inception to modern times. In attempting to position the band as neutral Southern rebels, it perhaps brings more questions as to where the boy’s allegiances fell rather than simply antics to drum up interest.
Nonetheless, Gone With The Wind may be the most comprehensive Skynyrd film to date. Honest, humbling and without much flash, the documentary mirrors the core image of Lynyrd Skynyrd well.
– Jake Tully