The 2018 documentary ‘Peeping Tom’ is back, and better than ever

Orlov is the only man in the world who has played Peeping Tom twice, which makes his current U.S. tour with his band Jack Faris a life-changing one. “To play the role twice was…

The 2018 documentary ‘Peeping Tom’ is back, and better than ever

Orlov is the only man in the world who has played Peeping Tom twice, which makes his current U.S. tour with his band Jack Faris a life-changing one. “To play the role twice was surreal,” he says in phone calls before a recent show at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. “But to travel to 18 cities in six months, has been mind-blowing.”

Mabury’s documentary film follows the Scotsman’s path back to their hometown, with an epilogue that includes Jack Faris’s 2016 retirement from the stage. It also shows how one man — who has long claimed to be all but dead — riffs and strums his way back into our hearts.

Featuring riffs like his “Rollintone” — “one of the crazy breaks in the meter, like the line between fast and slow” — and memorable melodies like “Hummus,”the film blends archival footage with Orlov’s now-famous tours. Like his music, Faris has segued from one persona to another: visiting an eccentric American flag-draped grave in Arizona, living in the surf-adjacent mountains of Maui, and learning to tap dance on the streets of San Francisco. And, of course, there’s that age-old challenge, living up to his own expectations.

The reveal that Jack Faris has Alzheimer’s disease is a wrenching one, as are remarks from his sons, brothers and daughter. But other moments are more humorous, like Faris’s now-familiar wry banter with fans at the occasional fundraising gig.

Orlov, who admits he must “fight” to keep things simple, is frequently animated — to the point of truculence — even in the documentary. But, at 74, he’s more adept at complaining about things than fixing them. “There is a lot I don’t know — and I don’t care.” It’s difficult to imagine that person without the pipes that turn “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” into a No. 1 smash.

Leave a Comment