Friday, April 11, 2008

A Quickie: Shine a LIght

Shine a Light
Release: 04/04/2008
Rated PG-13
2 hours, 2 minutes

Full Price ($$$$) <
> Matinee ($$$)

A gaunt, music God preens and prances to and fro on the screen before me. I wonder if the soul of the Greek legend Pan thrives within this strange creature. Opposite him, a leering troll-like beast hunches down to look the assembled crowd in the eyes as he brandishes one of his many colorful axes. He smiles as his talons stroke his instrument, creating sounds to excite the uproarious listeners. From the description, you'd think you might have entered into a screening of the latest fairy tale film, but you'd be wrong. The myths described above are none other than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

While I may have exaggerated a bit, truly these men along with Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts are the stuff of legend. I have never claimed to be an avid fan of the Stones. I have never seen them in concert but I do enjoy many of their songs when I come across them on the radio. Sympathy for the Devil and Paint it Black are a couple of my all-time favorite songs. When Jagger struts onto the stage of the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan, director Martin Scorsese (Michael Jackson's Bad) captures every note, every expression, every riff of Sympathy and many, many other great Stones hits. In the few moments when I was not watching the band tear it up (by themselves or with guest performers Jack White, Buddy Lee, or Christina Aguilera), I found myself marveling at the number of cameras Scorsese littered in the corners of the stage and in the crowd to give audiences the Stones experience.

It isn't just a Stones concert. Within the two-hour runtime, Scorsese presents a candid prelude to the concert and drops in the occasional archival interview. Those moments don't delve all that deeply into the Stones history, but serves more to show that these fellas are great friends with limitless energy. Especially, you can almost feel the childlike joy Keith Richards experiences in every moment.

Watching concerts in the comfort of a movie theater may seem a bit dull since you can't get up and groove. I found myself fidgeting from time to time, my legs feeling the need to strut. Likewise, my wife felt it ran a bit long. That said, this is one worth watching for the sheer spectacle and legend of it all. If they tour in this area again we will be going to see them, but if that never happens this film experience is close enough to the real thing.

Large Association of Movie Blogs


  1. I enjoyed Shine a Light also but I agree that it ran too long. Instead of cutting it shorter I think I would've preferred if Scorsese had added more interviews and archived footage to break up the performance.

    But wasn't it amazing how well The Stones can still rock?

  2. Hey, I think I spotted you at the Rankest Theater in Raleigh, a.k.a., Blue Ridge Cinema, over the weekend. Isn't it about time to update your Who's On Top listing?

  3. @matt- Definitely! I don't have half the energy of Jagger on a good day and he's twice my age! How sad is that?!

    @anon-Yes I was indeed skulking at the cheap theater this weekend. That, and many other reviews, will be coming shortly...don't get your knickers in a twist!

  4. Heard this was great - good review. Thanks for your comments. We definitely should meet up sometime. My GF is in Winston-Salem currently so i'm in NC all the time