Shine a Light

"Weak"

Shine a Light Review


Gimme Shelter this is not. The disillusions and stabbings of the 1969 concert have been replaced by the Clinton Foundation's benefit for the Natural Resource Defense Council and snapping camera phones. But Shine a Light is helmed by Martin Scorsese -- the man behind Goodfellas and Raging Bull -- shouldn't it push the boundaries set by Charlotte Zwerin and the Maysles brothers nearly 40 years ago? It should, but Scorsese has always had a cinematic hard-on for the Rolling Stones, and the result is a personal, biased love letter to the Stones signed with love by Marty.

When the Stones take the stage at New York City's Beacon Theater, it's frightening -- their age truly shows on film. As giants on the silver screen, we have a front row seat for an exhibition of frail bodies moving in ways that only young men should move. As Mick Jagger belts out songs of youthful rebellion and sexual frustration, he still does the same androgynous dances of yesteryear. Yet, this off-putting display of aged youth is clearly a place of sentiment for Scorsese, whose camera lingers with love.

That's not to say that the film is entirely a concert video, it is broken up by archival footage of the band -- comprised mostly old interviews. When Jagger, Richards and the crew aren't on stage shaking the skin hanging off their bones, their younger selves are making fools of themselves off stage -- displaying their naïveté at the end of a journalist's camera. While this might have been a point to show some sort of retrospective contrast to the geriatric Stones still rocking today, it merely perpetuates the idea that nothing has changed other than the Stones' bodies -- they are the oldest bunch of lovable 16-year-olds rock and roll has ever seen.

But there is one clear area where both the Stones and Scorsese have changed. Not only do the Stones alter their lyrics, taking out the more risqué lines of "Some Girls" and "Sympathy for the Devil," but, for whatever reason, Scorsese takes it upon himself to censor Jagger by removing several of his dropped F-bombs. The fact that several swears still slip through is even more maddening, as if Scorsese is putting his PG-13 rating on stage with the Stones. Rock and roll isn't rated PG-13. But Shine a Light provides a truncated, Wal-Mart version of the Rolling Stones that's as acceptable as the Pirates of the Caribbean pin on Keith Richard's jacket.

Sentimentality and nostalgia might fill the gaps for aging Stones fans, but for the rest of us, it's a missed opportunity for a reflection on the times and the unstoppable Stones. Gimme Shelter defined a change in a generation, but Shine a Light inadvertently defines our time of political correctness and accessibility through censorship. Perhaps the only insight we have into the post-2000 Rolling Stones is when Scorsese's camera swings into the drum set -- focused on drummer Charlie Watts -- and he unleashes a tiring sigh not more than three songs into the set. It's the only moment of weakness, of age, of reality. The rest is rock and roll that's sanitized for the whole family.

Keith Richards shows off his striking new look.



Shine a Light

Facts and Figures

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Friday 4th April 2008

Box Office USA: $5.4M

Distributed by: Paramount

Production compaines: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 106 Rotten: 17

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Victoria Pearman, Zane Weiner

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Cars 3 Movie Review

Cars 3 Movie Review

It's been six years since the last Cars movie (there were two Planes movies in...

The Beguiled Movie Review

The Beguiled Movie Review

In her inimitable loose style, Sofia Coppola remakes the 1971 Clint Eastwood movie from a...

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

War for the Planet of the Apes Movie Review

The surprisingly thoughtful prequel trilogy comes to a powerful conclusion with this robust, dramatic thriller,...

It Comes At Night Movie Review

It Comes At Night Movie Review

This sharply original horror film not only approaches its premise from an unexpected angle, but...

Okja Movie Review

Okja Movie Review

As Tilda Swinton reteams with her Snowpiercer director, Korea's Bong Joon Ho, it's perhaps unsurprising...

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

Spider-Man: Homecoming Movie Review

This may be the third reboot of this franchise in 15 years, risking audience exhaustion,...

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Despicable Me 3 Movie Review

Actually the fourth film in the series (don't forget the prequel Minions), this animated super-villain...

Advertisement
Baby Driver Movie Review

Baby Driver Movie Review

Wildly energetic and so cool it hurts, this action movie has been put together in...

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

All Eyez On Me Movie Review

There's a clear sense that this Tupac Shakur biopic is hoping to build on the...

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.