Stoned Stephen Woolley

Brian Jones may not be the man responsible for the Rolling Stones’ seemingly endless rock legacy but he was a major creative contributor to the band’s early years and vital to their foundation, considering he was essentially the man who put the band together. However, what makes the iconic guitarist’s story worthy of a biopic has more to do with how he went off the rails, was kicked out of the band and, of course, died a mysterious death. Stephen Woolley’s debut feature film is based on accounts of Jones’s life, presenting a linear storyline clouded by surrealism that was clearly influenced by the Mick Jagger-starring classic Performance. Beginning from Jones’s earliest musical memories and moving along through the formation of the Stones and their immediate success, Stoned only really picks up once Jones starts to lose his marbles, which leads to his dismissal from the band and his eventual downfall and death. Leo Gregory portrays the fallen rock star immaculately, capturing the flaky, drug- and women-obsessed hippie spirit that prevented him from fulfilling his dream of superstardom, as well as looking almost identical to the man himself. Stellar performances also come from David Morrissey and the vastly underused Paddy Considine, who play the Stones’ manager and Jones’s homebuilder, respectively. As promising as this film sounds, Stoned is far from satisfying. There’s little reason provided to care for Jones, as he’s painted more as a bratty junkie than a troubled soul. Increased consideration and empathy are given to Considine’s Frank Thorogood, admittedly Jones’s killer, which feels somewhat backwards no matter how sadistic Jones was towards him (which in the case of the film, seemed tolerable). And though it’s not exactly fair to pick on the picture’s low budget, Woolley puts too much attention on music unrelated to the Stones, as it’s painfully obvious they couldn’t get the rights to any of their music. Fans looking to grasp Jones’s final days should check this out for a kick, but it’s not an experience without hitches. Plus: deleted scenes. (Universal)