Published Apr 04, 2008Shine A Light is a marriage of two cultural icons: the Rolling Stones and Martin Scorsese. However, anyone expecting a sequel to No Direction Home, Scorseses fine 2005 bio doc of Bob Dylan, will be disappointed.
Instead, Shine A Light is merely an above-average concert film of the Stoness 2006 Beacon Theater gig in New York. Scorsese, who was a co-editor on Woodstock and helmed 1978s The Last Waltz (one of the finest rock concert videos), does well with the limited palette that Jagger has given him. "No swooping cameras, orders Mick at the beginning of the film to the dismayed auteur. To compensate, Scorsese cuts the film at a frenetic pace using footage from various stationary cameras. The effect wears off after a few fast songs.
Trained as an editor, Scorseses strength is structure. Hes clever enough to avoid leaping into the concert in the first shot, and instead builds suspense in the first 15 minutes by inter-cutting the Stones preparing for their show with Scorsese himself agonising over his shot list. Can he shoot the concert he wants? Not exactly.
The Stones deliver a typically entertaining, but predictable, show of hits. Only "Champagne and Reefer, the Muddy Waters cover with guest Buddy Guy, and the Jagger/Christina Aguilera duet "Live With Me truly spark. The giant IMAX screen adds a layer of detail to both the eye and ear.
However, the film comes to life whenever it cuts to vintage interviews of the band, spanning decades and continents. This footage is so tantalising that it begs a full-blown retrospective of this 46-year-old band.
The closest thing to a Stones Anthology is 1989s 25x5 video, which didnt outlive the VHS era. I suspect that Jagger will not authorise a video history until his band hangs up their drumsticks for good. And that could still be a while off. (Paramount Classics)