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 The disillusions and stabbings of the 1969 concert have been replaced by the Clinton Foundation's benefit for the Natural Resource Defense Council and snapping camera phones.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

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

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.