Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet

Directed by: Jesse Vile
87 minutes

New England Premiere

Outside certain circles, only a handful of virtuoso metal guitarists have achieved the mainstream name recognition of an Eddie Van Halen, a Steve Vai, or an Yngwie Malmsteen. And, in a just world, Jason Becker would be among them. The guy couldn’t just play, he could shred—and, like most late-’80s metalheads, he did it with huge hair, tight pants, and some all-pro guitar faces. Unlike his peers, though, Jason was just as likely to toss off a Bach fugue as a vintage Clapton solo. Fans and fellow players called him a prodigy, and they weren’t wrong.

So what happened? Where did he go? Why speak of his talent in the past tense? Therein lies a tale compassionately told in director Jesse Vile’s JASON BECKER: NOT DEAD YET. At once tragic and uplifting—the title itself is a spoiler—it will melt your heart as it breaks it in two. It tackles big questions: What would you do if you lost everything? How much of yourself would you sacrifice for a loved one? Can pure willpower overcome physical limitation? Jason’s story is uniquely powerful, truly moving, and deeply inspirational—something many biopics strive for, but few achieve.

—Brad Searles