Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Uncategorized Music DVD Review: The Rolling Stones – Shine A Light

Music DVD Review: The Rolling Stones – Shine A Light

Shine A Light is Martin Scorsese’s documentary of The Rolling Stones’ performance at the Beacon Theater in New York City. Performing their most popular songs, along with a few lesser known ones, The Rolling Stones look seasoned but never show signs of age. As far as insight goes, this documentary is rather bleak. But as far as amusement goes, it is exhilarating, electrifying, and a milestone in entertainment.

Mick Jagger is sensational on stage, using the entire stage to his advantage. Never once does he look exhausted, never once is he out of breath, and never once does he fail to entertain as he puts his heart into singing. Although, the first couple of songs sound a bit scratchy and, lets face it, Keith Richards’ skin looks like a leather wallet. but after some warming up The Stones are back in business like old times.

The only problem with Shine A Light is it feels like a two-hour concert rather than a documentary full of facts and insight on the band. With more details about The Rolling Stones and more interviews (which I found thoroughly interesting and full of enthusiasm), this would’ve been a shoo-in for a Best Documentary Oscar. However, the lack of empathy towards that end leads to a more entertaining, but much less informative, feature. Shine A Light fails to explore the history behind this celebrated band and the result is something of mediocre value.

When you take a legendary director (Martin Scorsese) and a legendary band (The Rolling Stones) the result itself should be legendary. However, the result here is of large-scale entertainment with an absence of food for thought. Hardcore fans of this aging band will admire the vibrant and enthusiastic performance on stage and will simply rule out the fact that this doesn’t feel like a documentary, which is what would be appropriate to be fully entertained. As I said before, this film has the ability to entertain but doesn’t have the full aspects of a documentary. It doesn’t tell the actual life story of The Rolling Stones, nor does it give us enough knowledge about their lifestyle. These recreations of the subject’s lifestyle is the basic aspect to this genre and, to my surprise, Shine A Light is disappointing in this area.

So, while I was expecting to learn quite a bit about this legendary band, I ended up without any knowledge as to how the band originated or the obstacles they encountered during their rise to fame. Nevertheless, there are quite a number of delightful songs to be heard on this DVD, including “Shattered” and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”. But the real highlight is the cameo appearance of Buddy Guy, who didn’t just blow me away, but put me in shock and awe. An amazing show is put on by a band that has aged with grace and an incendiary performance by blues guitar Hall of Famer, Buddy Guy is extraordinary. I just would’ve been more impressed if this had more depth to it.

The DVDs special features include four bonus performances by the Stones: “Undercover Of The Night,” “Paint It Black,” “Little T & A,” and “I’m Free.” Also included on the DVD is a behind-the-scenes featurette. In this featurette, tales are told between Buddy “Motherf***er” Guy and The Stones relating to how Buddy got his nickname and interviews with The Stones are explored greatly, simultaneously switching from glorious black and white to standard color.

Shine A Light is certainly worth a look. And if you do pick this one up, don’t ignore the magnificent special features this DVD has to offer. After all, the behind-the-scenes featurette is precisely what the movie itself should’ve been like, instead of resembling a two-hour concert video. 3/5 stars

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