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SHINE A LIGHT

Director: Martin Scorcese


HAVING PREVIOUSLY TURNED HIS ATTENTIONS TO THE BAND (THE LAST WALTZ) AND BOB DYLAN (NO DIRECTION HOME), MARTIN SCORSESE RETURNS TO ROCK MUSIC WITH THIS SPLENDID CONCERT FILM FEATURING THE ROLLING STONES.
Filmed over two nights at New York’s historic and intimate Beacon Theatre in the autumn of 2006, Shine a Light provides a better-than-front-row view of the Stones as they blaze their way through a formidable catalogue, balancing newer material with judiciously chosen classics. There’s almost an element of Spinal Tap-style humour to the opening 15-minute sequence, in which Scorsese himself features as a comically frustrated director who’s trying to get his hands on the set list and come to terms with the technical limitations of the theatre.
However, from here on in it’s all strictly business, as the band kick off with ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and rarely slow the pace thereafter.
Scorsese seems happy just to show the band performing, letting their music do the talking. Although there is some archival footage laced throughout the film, it is not of the order of No Direction Home and seems part of Scorsese’s intention of showing a band that’s still creative, still vital. One pointed excerpt shows a youthful Jagger’s confident assertion that he will still be performing at 60 (he was 63 at the time of filming Shine a Light). Assembling a huge crew of world-class cinematographers, Scorsese has managed to capture the essence of a Stones show, including some wonderful stolen moments such as Charlie Watts turning to camera and sighing with exhaustion, and Keith Richards . . . well, just being Keith Richards. —Kevin Coyne.

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