A sometimes affecting, original, but uneven documentary, "D Tour" features a subject who is a little nontraditional, and takes a heartbreaking turn.
The film focuses on Pat Spurgeon, a scraggly-haired musician who is in kidney failure. Pat continues to tour and try to live his life despite being on dialysis, and is on a lengthy waiting list for a new kidney (being a musician has no health insurance, nor could he get insurance at a "regular job" because of his pre-existing condition).
His band raises money for him, asking for donations while they search for a suitable donor. Pat's blood type is O, which is relatively rare, making a match a veritable crapshoot even before the battery of tests needed to confirm a suitable donor.
The film mostly follows Pat and his band, Rogue Wave, as they tour around the country. We see Pat, who manages to remain more or less upbeat about his condition, noting that he could live on dialysis for 20 years if necessary.
When a bandmate's wife is found to have the same bloodtype and volunteers to be a donor, Pat and those around him seem upbeat, but is she a suitable donor?
"D Tour" tries less to offer an engaging or even structured narrative, nor does it make characters out of its subjects. Pat isn't especially attractive, he isn't doing anything particularly inspiring or special; he's just a regular guy trying to live a happy, healthy life.
The story is pretty much straightforward and personal. There are no controversial or outrageous developments (save for the film's end), and we mostly just see Pat going about his business, touring, playing music, and hanging out with his friends.
It is easy to see the filmmakers are passionate about the topic of organ donation, and a scene where an organ recipient meets the family of the young man who donated the organs is emotional and effective. So, too is the film's finale, which I don't want to spoil here.
"D Tour"'s takes on an educational beat as Pat describes his daily routine, which consists of emptying and refilling his abdomen with a bag of fluid, and the restrictions he faces on the road (eating, for example, is a dicey proposition, since his diet is so restricted: he can have no salt, and potassium can kill him).
While it's clearly a very personal film, "D Tour" just isn't all that interesting. The characters seem like regular, stand-up sort of people, but there's nothing particularly interesting about most of them. I got the sense watching the film that these guys are probably great friends, but don't make particularly interesting film subjects.
"D Tour" is just a little slice of life, a mildly engagaing film that works most of the time, but doesn't necessarily stand out amidst a slew of heart-rending docs out there.