We cannot burn Mick Jagger

Here are some thoughts I had while watching 'Shine a Light', with precisely four other souls, on its opening night.

  • First and foremost, this is a concert movie, and as such it's a very good concert movie. I don't particularly care for the Stones, but I really enjoyed dancing in my seat. The absence of other cinemagoers probably helped.
  • The show was choreographed to death of course, but there were some cool touches - like Jagger walking through the crowd on 'Sympathy for the Devil' and guest appearances from Christina Aguilera, Buddy Guy and Jack White.
  • Never mind that the band's faces all look creaky and Mick doesn't wear men's clothes any more. Those fuckers can still play. This is definitely Keith's best film role of the last couple of years, although he wore a brooch commemorating his previous, much much worse, attempt at cinema.
  • The camera work was great - there were cameras everywhere. And the personnel was all very accomplished - some legendary cinematographers were involved.
  • It reminded of seeing recordings for Top of the Pops and The Cut with Jo Whiley, with genuinely great bands like Spiritualized, Manic Street Preachers, Busta Rhymes (!), and the atmosphere was always really awkward, because you're encouraged to be enthusiastic three or four times, but keep moving out of the way of all the cameras.
  • Speaking of - nobody in the audience looked like they were having as much fun as those on the stage. There was a narrow band of young, hot people at the front, and then a lot of sitting around. Come on, people! It's the Rolling Stones! Indoors! For charity! How about standing up?
  • Some critics have been saying "It's a good concert film from a band who already have a billion concert films... Who cares?" I can understand that, but having not seen any of those others, that didn't affect my own enjoyment.
  • Now here's my main gripe - the film wasn't too clear about what it wanted to be. It starts off as a documentary about the concert, with lots of Scorcese, his eyebrows, and the intense prep that goes into the show, but there wasn't much backstage footage. A funny bit where Hillary Clinton's mum says "Oooh, the drummer!" to Charlie, and meeting the President of Poland, is about the extent of pre-show action.
  • And then, the show is interspersed with random snippets of old interviews with the band, which don't really bring anything to the film. I mean, it's funny to see a panel discussion with fresh-out-of-jail Jagger, a bishop, a Member of Parliament and "Britain's leading Jesuit", but just throwing in little clips doesn't make it a documentary.
  • The bulk of the film is the live show, which is very entertaining - I just wish they'd not bothered trying to be more than a concert film.
  • It's a Scorcese film without Gimme Shelter in it. Wait, whaaaat?
[download The Rolling Stones - Miss You]


Nick said...


An article from the New Yorker about the two deep group of attractive ladies up front and center.

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