Berlin 2008: Too much moss on Scorsese’s Stones

Rolling Stones Berlin 2008 x650

By Ray Bennett

BERLIN – The Rolling Stones’ concert documentary “Shine a Light,” which had its world premiere tonight at the Berlin International Film Festival, is a major disappointment for anyone who hopes to see a film that captures the band’s live shows and reveals how they’ve kept going all these years.

Although he has a team of prizewinning cinematographers at hand, director Martin Scorsese does a lazy job of tackling the Stones legend and he uses tired old interview footage from decades ago instead of asking fresh questions.

It’s a not-bad TV concert show but as a document for the cinema it’s all wrong. It was filmed at the wrong venue (a small theatre) with the wrong crowd (for a Clinton benefit). The set list is boring and the sound mix distances the band from the crowd in the theatre and the movie audience.

Kirk Honeycutt in The Hollywood Reporter is right to compare it unfavourably with not only the current concert movies that feature U2 and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but especially Taylor Hackford’s expert 1987 film “Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll,” in which Keith Richards really shone.

Scorsese is content to film him as Widow Twanky while Mick Jagger hogs the show.

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