Directed and produced by Ethan Higbee and Adam Bhala Lough, The Upsetter lets its central character, creative wild man Lee “Scratch” Perry, be his loosey goosey self (as if anybody could stop him) while he takes the viewer on a meandering voyage through his surreal world of tripped-out visions and sublime sonics.
Perry carries the history of reggae in every cell of his body and the glimpses we get of his life, through archival and new footage, is seductive, crazy and jubilant. The mercurial man is as elusive as a stoned butterfly, but in between the patois, jive talk and cosmic gibberish, the light seeps through.
The Upsetter attempts to put Perry into a larger context in terms of reggae’s roots and evolution, but the man is such a force of nature that most everything in the film, other than its subject, is beclouded by the whirlwind of cosmic dust Lee Perry leaves in his wake. As a reggae documentary, the movie is rudimentary. As a glimpse into the mind of Perry, it’s essential and fucking nuts.
Narrated by Benicio Del Toro.
Parts two, three and four after the jump…