In the mid-1980s, when rock guitarists resembled not grizzled bluesmen but tousled Paganinis, Jason Becker was the real deal: a prodigy still in high school. On the eve of his career triumph—stepping into David Lee Roth’s solo band after Steve Vai departed—Becker was struck down with the diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease, a calamity that appeared and rapidly progressed. Jesse Vile’s inspiring heartbreaker of a documentary is cleaved into two well-judged halves: We see Becker continuing on, robbed of speech and movement, yet undiminshed in his musical creativity. There’s also exhilarating footage of his pyrotechnics, when the shred horizon seemed as far as his fingers could take him.
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