Pegged around the Come So Far For Beauty tribute show filmed in Sydney, Australia, in 2005, I’m Your Man is – perhaps surprisingly, for one so humble – pretty much Cohen hagiography. Nick Cave, Linda Thompson, Antony (of The Johnsons), Beth Orton, Jarvis Cocker, both Rufus and Martha Wainwright and U2 (plus more) queue up to talk of what Cohen’s music did to them and to perform a song of his themselves. Sometimes it goes well (Nick Cave); sometimes it’s frustratingly misjudged (Martha Wainwright and her brother). You can skip most of these and still sleep well.
Having Cohen, interviewed across various dates, recall his life, upbringing, immersion in poetry and thoughts on his chosen craft is revelatory and inspirational. Still the most charming man in the world – even from behind a TV screen – it saves this from simply being a race to the finish. The finish is, however, what the 100-minute (or so) feature is scrambling towards, as it climaxes with Cohen, backed by U2, singing Tower Of Song. Compare even this to Cohen’s monologues, however, and it’s nowhere near as riveting as that one man talking. He deserves a great tribute, but this isn’t quite it. Perhaps he’s just too enigmatic to do justice to.