God Bless Ozzy Osbourne Directed by Mike Fleiss, Mike Piscitelli
Released date: September 16, 2011 (UK) Limited
My local multiplex is usually full of spiky-haired teenagers queuing up for the latest horror or comedy (not that there’s anything wrong with that) often hand in clammy hand with their first date. Tonight, however, is different: there are bikers in the car park and men with long hair, leather jackets, and Iron Maiden trainers in the ticket queue. Tonight, God Bless Ozzy Osbourne is in town.
After the success of MTV show The Osbournes and his brilliant autobiography I Am Ozzy, a documentary about the Prince of Darkness was always going to happen. Being a big fan of Ozzy Osbourne I thought I knew exactly what sort of film I was in for. I was wrong.
The biggest surprise for me was not watching a comedy. Sure it will make you laugh out loud, but God Bless Ozzy Osbourne is a very honest film about a very troubled man. For all of Ozzy’s crazy behaviour it is easy to forget that he is someone’s dad. All five of his kids (including his and Sharon’s oldest daughter Aimee who refused to be part of The Osbournes) are interviewed and none could say with any certainty that he was a good dad. When the rock world was being entertained by Ozzy, his lifestyle had a big and lasting effect on them. They all still clearly love him very much and are all really proud of the way he has turned his life around and finally gone sober. It takes the cartoon character sheen off and makes him instantly more human.
Such is Ozzy’s chaotic, colourful, and chemical-laden life that everyone and their dog knows at least one Ozzy Osbourne story. These hilarious tales of dove decapitation, bat biting, and shit smearing are told by Ozzy himself and the many famous musicians who bore witness to these events and who want to share thoughts and memories of someone who has brought so much to metal music: Robert Trujillo, Henry Rollins, John Frusciante, Sir Paul McCartney, and Tommy Lee are all interviewed.
Geezer Butler, Bill Ward, and Tony Iommi talk about the very good early days of Black Sabbath and the very bad end of the original line up as their show-off frontman slowly found life more and more difficult to cope with, something which accelerated after the death of his father. There are some great archive interviews, on-stage and off-stage footage and many photographs from this time.
Ozzy’s sister Iris and his brother talk about growing up with their daft brother John in Aston. They were very poor and lived in a town still suffering effects of the war, which makes Ozzy appreciate everything he has that much more. The revealing family interviews I suspect were as a result of having Sharon and Jack Osbourne acting as producers. This makes it feel more personal and intimate.
God Bless Ozzy Osbourne is a fascinating and sometimes moving documentary about one of the world’s most infamous musicians. I enjoyed every foulmouthed minute of it, but at a little under 2 hours it felt too short. But then capturing Ozzy’s life story comprehensively would require a number of movies that would put the James Bond series to shame.
No animals were harmed in the writing of this review.