Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon (2023) Film Review |

Randy Rhoads Reflections of a Guitar Icon

Doing a very complete retrospect on the life of Randy Rhoads can’t be an easy feat. Even though his life was tragically cut short by recklessness, the reality is it wasn’t full of excesses as it would happen with a regular rock star. He was centered on being good, and he actually accomplished it. How did he do it? Only he knew.

With a few years of performing, Rhoads print in the guitar landscape is curiously remarkable. But there’s a mystery to him that we still can’t solve which makes every documentary about Rhoads an informative document that’s still full of questions. Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon tries very hard to shed light on what’s essentially a closed book and even if it accomplishes something, it’s still kept short in favor of making the documentary more about doubt than about an interesting young man whose love for music was expressed through loud and unplayable riffs, and a beautiful passion for an art he was very good at.

We start with Rhoads being part of Quiet Riot, the part of his life that’s seldom explored due to the band’s tremendously bad luck in signing a record deal. It’s hard to hear a Quiet Riot song in which Rhoads actually participates. Then the documentary is highly focused on this. His beginnings as a guitar master that was never given the stage he deserved.

The documentary also tells the story of Rhoads’ relationship with band mates. This is when things get interesting. The words of some of those who were with him back in the day are revealing enough to make us wonder about the dynamics of such a tumultuous time. It also provides power to the enigma of what would have happened if Rhoads hadn’t perished in a tragic plane accident. Aside from being able to compose magnificent riffs, he would have probably revisited (in some way) Quiet Riot as the root of it all.

What Randy Rhoads: Reflections of a Guitar Icon never does is speculate, and that’s very fortunate. One of heavy metal’s angels, Rhoads was always focused on being better, and not being an asshole in times where there were a lot of these in LA’s music scene. He always smiled at the camera and performed as if that were his last time. The documentary never allows you to question his decision of dropping out of Quiet Riot to play with Ozzy Osbourne as part of his solo band. We trust he did the best and decided on something that not only would make him famous, but a better player.

There aren’t many documents about Rhoads out there. He’s always mentioned as being a composer of powerful melodies that no one else could come up with. With this documentary, you will meet the blonde, skinny kid who fell in love with guitars from an early age and never turned into something else because of fame. When it was time to leave Quiet Riot, he only thought of how his students would do without him. That right there, is the way of thinking of a hero. A hero like no other.

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of the OFCS. RT Certified Critic

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