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Shine A Light

Shine A Light

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Four additional songs not seen in the cinema: Undercover of The Night, Little T & A, I’m Free, Paint It Black; 15 min Backstage Featurette; Multi-Angle: Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

MARTIN Scorsese has long been a fan of the Rolling Stones having used their songs in many of his films (Gimme Shelter, for example, has apparently appeared in three). So who better to capture them live, in order to secure a moment in time that might live forever?

Shine A Light is exactly the film that the Oscar-winning director envisaged: an energetic tribute to the band’s undisputed greatness that succeeds in capturing the energy of their live shows and goes some way to explaining why they have endured for so long.

It’s a rollicking concert film that offers a front row seat to one of the greatest live bands on the planet, as well as some cheeky archive material that recalls some of their early work and cheeky misdemeanours.

Fans will be in seventh heaven even though satisfaction isn’t entirely guaranteed.

Given the unprecedented access that Scorsese got, there’s a nagging suspicion that he hasn’t quite made the most of it. Behind-the-scenes footage is restricted to the opening 10 minutes of the film, much of which feels staged for the cameras, while we don’t really find out much more about the band than we did before we went in.

There’s no attempt to interview Mick Jagger and company in the here and now, or to examine quite what goes into putting on a Stones live show. The focus of Scorsese’s camera is firmly on the stage and while its enormous fun that could well have you clapping and singing along in your cinema seat, Shine A Light doesn’t really go far enough.

That said, this is a concert film that – by virtue of the longevity of the band’s career – has something for everyone to enjoy, whether Stones fans or not, and no matter how many times they may already have seen them live.

Recorded at New York’s Beacon Theatre in 2006 and making the most of Scorsese’s technical brilliance, it features a set list comprised of stone wall classics (Sympathy For The Devil, Jumpin’ Jack Flash and Start Me Up stand out) as well as some more obscure numbers.

Buddy Guy is on hand to enliven Champagne and Reefer< and is rewarded with one of Keith Richards’ guitars for his efforts, Jack White underlines his credentials as one of the most talented artists of contemporary times by duetting with the band on Loving Cup and red-hot sex appeal is brought by Christina Aguilera as she struts her stuff with Mick Jagger on a seductive version of Live With Me.

But it’s the Stones who shine brightest, with Jagger demonstrating exceptional stamina throughout the 2-hour set, Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood exchanging guitar riffs and clearly having fun, and Charlie Watts doing what Charlie does best, as straight-faced (and occasionally puffed out) as ever on the drums.

And while, at the end of the day, it may only be rock ‘n’ roll that Scorsese has delivered, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll like it (a lot!).

Read our verdict on the soundtrack

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 122mins
UK DVD Release: November 3, 2008