|Shine A Light|
Written by Brice Boembeke
July 27, 2008
I remember seeing a preview for Shine a Light, the “rockumentary” about the Rolling Stones directed by Martin Scorsese, before watching I Am Legend in the theaters and thinking that it actually looked pretty interesting. I am a fan of the Stones inasmuch as I enjoy listening to their music. The extent of my enjoyment of the Stones lies in the fact that some of my favorite classic rock songs are songs of theirs, but I do not own any of their albums, nor was I overly excited by their performance during the Super Bowl XL Halftime Extravaganza of 2006.
Also, I like “rockumentaries”. I recall seeing the Radiohead one entitled Meeting People is Easy and being thoroughly enjoyed. I also very much enjoyed (though I was highly inebriated at the time) the video included with the DVD version of the Evanescence album The Open Door.
Ultimately, what I am trying to say, is that I went into this experience with the best possible chance of thoroughly enjoying the DVD, since I like the Rolling Stones and I like music group oriented videos, for the most part. Also, I do think that Martin Scorsese is a talented director, so this video had a lot of things going for it right off the bat.
My first and really only complaint about the movie, however, was that it was not really what I would classify as a “rockumentary”. What it was, was more like a very high production version of a recording of a live concert with a few little snippets of other material thrown in to give some background on the Stones as a group and to add some flavor to the otherwise straight-forward video of a live concert.
Then, there is the pre-show backstage stuff which is also pretty cool and interesting, the kind of stuff you don’t usually get to see. The reason you watch these kinds of things. To get to a glimpse of what the life of a rocker is like.
Then, the concert starts.
And, aside from a few breakaway moments where they show old footage of the Stones in their younger years for a few minutes at a time, it’s all just the live show.
The camera work in the movie that Martin Scorsese (master director) is responsible for is about as scripted and unsurprising as any given episode of American Idol. There is a crane camera that swoops around the stage and gives extreme close-ups of perhaps the most bedraggled and unsightly group of men to ever grace a stage. Then there are the obligatory “fan cams” that show the concert from the perspective of the front few rows of ticket-holders.
And that’s about it. Really? Marty…babe, c’mon here fella. You couldn’t think of anything else?
If the whole movie would have been what the first five to ten minutes was, I would have loved it. But the movie blew its wad in the first few minutes and then was just a run-of-the-mill live concert video for another hour and fifty minutes.I’m sorry, I just thought that coming from Martin Scorsese, there would have been more to it than that.
I would recommend renting this video if you are a Rolling Stones fan. If you are die-hard, then you might want to buy it. Otherwise, don’t even bother.
The few minutes of this that you get in the movie are the few minutes that I really enjoyed. The rest could have been playing in the background and I would have been about as involved in it as I was watching it in order to be able to review it. In the end, it was too much of the usual and not enough of what I thought was really important.