Credit must be given to The Sound Of Scars director Leigh Brooks for aspiring to tell a different story. This is a film not about the making of Life Of Agony’s incredible music, but rather the making of the people that made phenomenal songs like River Runs Red, How It Would Be and Weeds. What would be a major focus of other films – the band imploding just as they seemed destined for a major breakthrough; reunions and re-reunions – are all present and correct, and hit hard, too. But across its 90 minutes, TSOS is altogether more preoccupied with the inner lives of its subjects.
Some aspects of this story are well-known, most notably that of singer Mina Caputo’s journey – now 10 years on since she came out as transgender, after years of living by the name of Keith Caputo.
“There was no Keith,” she reflects at one point. “Keith was a lie, a social construct, Keith was an idea to get me out of the abusive situation I was in at the time.”
Quite frankly, you wouldn’t want to meet the person who isn’t moved by Mina’s bravery, or the details of her personal history: as a child being found in a playpen beside her OD’d parents, her mother dead. The seeds of mistrust that came from being raised by her grandmother, all the while believing she was her mother. Years of physical and emotional abuse. The trauma of having to pull needles out of her father’s arm. A lifetime of trying to find her true identity. There are moments in this film that will live long in the memory: Mina caressing a lock of hair of the mother she never knew; her recollection of having to identify her father’s body for the police after his eventual fatal overdose. In moments such as these, The Sound Of Scars attains an intimacy beyond the remit of even the most powerful music documentaries.