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  Publicity Stills of
"Shine A Light"
(Courtesy from GV)

Genre: Documentary
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Christina Aguilera, Buddy Guy, Jack White III
RunTime: 2 hrs 3 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: M18
Official Website: http://www.shinealightmovie.com/

Soundtrack: Review of "SHINE A LIGHT" Official Soundtrack

Opening Day: 12 June 2008


On April 4th, Academy Award®-winning filmmaker and the world's greatest rock n' roll band will unite to bring audiences the year's most extraordinary musical film event, "Shine A Light" to theaters everywhere. Martin Scorsese's concert documentary "Shine A Light" will show the world the Rolling Stones as they've never been seen before. Filmed at the famed Beacon Theatre in New York City in Fall 2006, Scorsese assembled a legendary team of cinematographers to capture the raw energy of the legendary band.

Movie Review:

It’s not everyday you get to see concert footage shown on the big screen. It’s even rarer to see a rock group made up of four 60-year-old men performing one song after another on stage. Enter “Shine a Light”, the latest concert documentary featuring the evergreen English rock band The Rolling Stones.

“Shine a Light” consists mainly of recordings of a concert performed at the Beacon Theater in New York during The Rolling Stones’ 2006 “A Bigger Bang” tour which are interspersed with old news and archival interview footages of the band. The title is taken from one of the band’s songs of the same name. Taking a break from making movies, Martin Scorsese lends his directorial touch to the documentary. This is not Scorsese’s first venture into directing music-related films however, as he had previously directed Michael Jackson’s music video for “Bad” in 1987.

So, what can I say about “Shine a Light”, my very first concert documentary experience in a cinema? On the whole, it is like attending a concert for the price of a movie ticket. There is little that I know about The Rolling Stones other than their two high-profile members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, who are also the band’s major creative songwriting force. I only knew about Keith Richards from Robin Williams’ impression of him in Williams’ “Live on Broadway” stand-up comedy act. Another bit of trivia is that according to Johnny Depp, he had based his mannerisms for Captain Jack Sparrow in the “Pirates of the Carribean” film series on Richards, who happened to make a cameo appearance as Jack Sparrow’s father in the third Pirates movie. Seeing Richards in action as a guitarist for the Stones made me realize why he is such a fascinating figure to warrant such attention. Despite his age, he oozes coolness with his devil-may-care attitude. Only he can make playing a guitar while smoking a cigarette appear stylish. He also has a great sense of humour to boot. I can’t forget his attempt at breaking the ice with their special guest audience member, former US president Bill Clinton, when he said “Hi, Clinton. I’m bushed!”

Then there is the lead singer, Mick Jagger. He is an absolute powerhouse, being able to dance and sing excitedly with so much enthusiasm that can rival any rocker of today’s generation. He still can hold his own even with the presence of guest performers Christina Aguilera, Jack White and Buddy Guy. With him leading the show, no member of the audience can afford to sit still. It is comforting to note that Jagger does not hog the limelight in providing lead vocals for all the songs as he passes the torch to Keith Richards for two of the nineteen songs featured in the film. Rounding off the quartet are guitarist Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts who are no pushovers either, though we get to see Watts exhaling deeply at one point after some energy-sapping drum routines.

The interview footages mentioned earlier serve as both extra features that provide insight into the band throughout their four-decade long career and interludes to the main concert footage itself. The topics range from the prophetic “do you see yourself still performing at 60 years old?” to the downright bizarre “what is the most frequently asked question you have been asked?” to which Keith Richards gave a very amusing response befitting his character. Martin Scorsese also included a semi-fictionalized account of the concert preparations shown in monochrome at the beginning of the film which is entertaining as well.

To sum up, “Shine a Light” is strictly a film that only fans of The Rolling Stones can truly savour for its entire 2-hour running time. Non-fans may find it hard to appreciate what is so delightful about watching four senior citizens rocking their hearts out. For me, it is awe-inspiring to witness the strong passion for music exhibited by the four rockers. The saying “young at heart” has just found its best spokesmen.

Movie Rating:

(You can’t get no satisfaction from “Shine a Light” unless you are a hardcore Rolling Stones fan)

Review by Tan Heng Hau


. I'm Not There (2007)

. Across the Universe (2007)

. Glastonbury (2006)

. Rock School (2005)

. Beatles' Biggest Secret DVD (2004)


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