Review: Shine a Light

As concert movie experiences go, you can’t do much better than watching Martin Scorsese’s latest documentary, Shine A Light

As concert movie experiences go, you can’t do much better than watching Martin Scorsese’s latest documentary, Shine A Light as it pans out in all its glory across an enormous screen at the Imax cinema.

Forget the sex, drugs and debauchery you’ve come to associate with rock n roll – the Rolling Stones have been there and done that – this film instead captures the band in all its live glory proving they can still crank even though the band members’ combined age is well over two centuries. It may be touted as a career spanning doco – but where this film shines (sorry) is in its portrayal of The Rolling Stones’ live juggernaut. Decades later they’re still serving up primal pumping rock n roll.

Scorcese has captured footage from the band’s Beacon Theatre concert in NYC in the summer of 2006 complete with intro from President Clinton to the thump and grind of classic Stones tracks. It’s all on hand interspersed with footage from interviews and appearances from earlier in the band’s career – and the result is a film packed with energy and immediacy.

Scorsese is no passive observer in this flick – he’s there on the sidelines, tugging at his hair as his carefully concerted plans fall by the wayside thanks to the capricious nature of shooting live footage and the spontaneity of rock n roll. He’s there posing the tricky questions to Mick, and he’s there almost fanboy like watching the concert unfold.

There’s some guest appearances by the likes of Jack White and Christina Aguilera – and the moment that Buddy Guy joins the stage for a rendition of Champagne and Reefer is worth the admission price alone.

Still, the film is not without its faults, Scorsese directs dramas, so it’s interesting to note that he has missed a lot of opportunities in the shooting process perhaps because live concerts aren’t his forte. There aren’t enough crowd shots to adequately capture the essence of just what it felt like to be a part of this concert experience, and there is a definite preoccupation with Jagger over the rest of the band.

That said you’ll still leave the cinema with a smile on your face and a no doubt humming along to the refrain of I Cant Get No Satisfaction



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