A tidy 73-minute romp through Lewis’ career that manages to fit in about a dozen staggering performances of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” but still leaves you wishing there was room for a couple more.
Coen draws from existing interviews and performance footage to create a portrait that is far from definitive, and yet the film’s snapshot quality manages to amplify what is so mythic about the 86-year-old legend — and also what remains so vexing.
If, though, you’re looking for a more probing look at the man behind the balls of fire, or a pan back to place him in a broader context, Coen’s rockumentary will fall just a little short of satisfying.
'Trouble in Mind' barely feels like a movie at all. ... Absent any contemporary reflections by either the subject or outside observers, we’re left with no real idea how anyone feels about Jerry Lee Lewis and his exploits on either side of the camera.
Thirty minutes in—with all interesting ledes sufficiently buried or ignored, the charm of his husky southern drawl faded—you realize you’ve been conned into letting Coen take you on a YouTube train of his favorite Lewis performances and interviews. If you like Lewis’s sound, that’s fun for a short while. Then you realize he’s just playing the same songs on repeat and it starts to get annoying, as getting cornered at a party usually does.