Shine A Light

Posted on: 21 April 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stones documentary rocks, says our reviewer.


Those enduring rock icons The Rolling Stones show that they are still one of the greatest groups around in Martin Scorsese's intimate and exhilarating new documentary Shine A Light, showing at Curzon cinema Mayfair and on general release.

The film focuses on two concerts from the band's 2006 'A Bigger Bang' tour. In addition to extensive coverage of the two-night stand at New York's Beacon Theatre, the documentary features historical footage, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage from decades past.

Ironically when interviewed in the early days a youthful Mick Jagger reveals he will be surprised if the group lasts more than a week. Now some 40 years on as we watch Jagger leaping, strutting, ambling and marching across the stage, arms outstretched, hips shaking and delivering a full-frontal musical assault on his ecstatic audience in his own inimitable style, it is not hard to see just why their music has appealed to such a wide generation of rock fans, as the band plays such legendary numbers as As Tears Go By - my favourite - Brown Sugar and (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction with a renewed lease of life and considerable verve and vitality.

Shine A Light - Buddy Guy, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Charlie WattsHowever this is no mere celluloid record of rock musicians doing what they do best, for Oscar-winning cinematographer Robert Richardson's constantly mobile camerawork ensures the performances are covered from every angle possible and gives the film a fluidity and excitement that makes you feel you are actually in the audience.

This in fact is not Scorsese's first foray into popular music - in the past he has explored the careers of The Band and Bob Dylan as well as making the excellent The Last Waltz - and the reason he gives for wanting to make this movie is that the Stones were such an inspiration to him as a young man. Indeed here Scorsese gives a masterclass in film making, just as The Stones do in musicality.

How ironic then that in these days of rampant ageism when the rock music industry is considered by many to appeal primarily to the young that the band that has outlived all the others and has more energy and professionalism than musicians more than half their age, should be in receipt of their bus passes.

Let's hope The Stones keep on rolling for many more years!

Laurence Green

Web Links

www.shinealightmovie.co.uk

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