We gave it a B
If you’re a devotee of the rave scene, you could live without Better Living Through Circuitry, documentarian Jon Reiss’ shapeless sampler of electronica culture. There probably isn’t much here that you don’t already know, and you’d no doubt rather attend one of those all-night, drug-charged dance parties than sit in a movie theater like a wallflower watching others groove to Moby and Co.
But if you can’t tell the Crystal Method from the Lords of Acid, you might actually learn something. Along with helpful what-to-bring hints (plenty of water to combat dehydration, shades to shield the morning sun when you head home), there are too-brief, often-profane profiles of turntablists like Brooklyn’s Frankie Bones (who claims, ”I eat, I sleep, I s— techno”) and the dreadlocked DJ Spooky (who explains, ”I try to take the crowd someplace and show them s—”).
Intercut are entrancing yet endless scenes of ravers with infantile accessories (Teletubbies backpacks, fluorescent bracelets, pacifier necklaces), gyrating to trippy rhythms and laser lights in converted warehouses or remote desert locales. At times, Circuitry plays like American Bandstand on Ecstasy. But to paraphrase the kids on Dick Clark’s old rate-a-record segments, it’s got a good beat, you can dance to it — I give it a B.