A career-spanning documentary on The Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their "A Bigger Bang" tour.A career-spanning documentary on The Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their "A Bigger Bang" tour.A career-spanning documentary on The Rolling Stones, with concert footage from their "A Bigger Bang" tour.
"Shine a Light" is a concert film. I'm not sure I'd call it a documentary on the Rolling Stones so much as a filming (a brilliant filming) of an especially good concert they played recently. Scorsese is smart enough, however, to use interviews and clips from all stages of the Stones' career for purposes of humor and even commentary on various aspects of music and the music business, as well as the band itself.
Your average Rolling Stones fan waiting to see a Rolling Stones concert and who isn't a fan of film probably will be bored during the film's opening scenes, but for those interested in film, they provide a fascinating glimpse into the marriage of live music and film-making, which doesn't happen as much as it should. It's also quite an intimate look at the Stones as a bunch of people, exposing them in the same sort of way the non-concert scenes in "Gimme Shelter" did. Then again, how much of it is real and how much is an act is really the essential question that we will forever be asking about this band.
"Shine a Light" isn't a document of an important historical event like Scorsese's "The Last Waltz" or the Maysles Bros' "Gimme Shelter" was as a Rolling Stones film, so one shouldn't expect that sort of greatness from "Shine a Light". What one should expect is a great concert, filmed with great skill, tasteful guest appearances that do nothing but add to the music, and a gorgeous film interspersed tastefully with archive footage chosen carefully and played at just the right moments.
The Stones and Scorsese are on top form here, making this a memorable and exciting concert film and the sort of marriage of film-making and live music that really should happen more often.
- Apr 7, 2008