Riveting even when it borders on the hagiographic, Jeff Feuerzig’s The Devil and Daniel Johnston details the troubled life of the titular singer-songwriter, a West Virginia native born into a devout Christian family whose idiosyncratic and profuse artistic gifts (which also included drawing, painting and amateur moviemaking) were inextricably colored by mental illness. Feuerzig’s documentary hails from the Tarnation school of non-fiction filmmaking, having been crafted with an overwhelming amount of Johnston-created video and audio footage (much of it confessional), interviews with anyone and everyone who crossed his path, and performance clips that starkly reveal the man’s talents and deficiencies. It’s a fascinating journey from Johnston’s parents’ cluttered basement to a career-making 1985 appearance on MTV, stays in psychiatric hospitals, a fallout with his thanklessly loyal manager and, after countless other pit stops along the way, finally back to his parents’ home, where Johnston once again resides. The director, clearly taken with his subject, crafts his portrait with melancholic sympathy, laying out how Johnston’s successes and failures were both colored by mental disorders that led to numerous, shocking breakdowns and brushes with death (most caused by obsessive visions of Satan). Unfortunately, such compassion eventually interferes with the film’s analysis of Johnston the artist, which never thoroughly examines the degree to which his work – scraggly, soulful, and simple – was celebrated not because of its inherent greatness, but because it sprung from a disturbed mind and, thus, came equipped with a unique, irresistibly appealing origin myth.