FILM REVIEW | STONES IN EXILE
photo manipulation by nacrowe
this perfectly competent yet entirely pedestrian documentary concerning the creation of EXILE ON MAIN ST. (ROLLING STONES RECORDS, 1972) suffers from a lack of inspiration. little connection is made in STONES IN EXILE (PASSION PICTURES, 2010) between the songs created and the disjointed process they sprung out from. at best this documentary seemed like a wasted opportunity and at worst a cash grab by the band, management or even EAGLE ROCK, who distributed it.
book-ended by trite, uninformed musings by the likes of WILL.I.AM, JACK WHITE SHERYL CROW, LIZ PHAIR, BENICIO DEL TORO and some random dude from KINGS OF LEON. i get that they were trying to present this classic record to a new generation, but the fact that these participants were unaware of basic facts surrounding the record only makes their inclusion that much more confounding. was PATTI SMITH, BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, TOM PETTY, JOHN FOGERTY, PAUL MCCARTNEY or anyone else that may have had some actual cultural insight into the group not available that day? makes no sense to me. this is a documentary after all.
what did work well were the interview contributions by the likes of KEITH RICHARDS, his ex-wife ANITA PALLENBERG and session saxophone player BOBBY KEYS. you got the sense from them that evading the punitive BRITISH tax code and leaving abroad along the southern coast of FRANCE suited RICHARDS just fine. his laid-back bohemian, vagabond lifestyle was well-suited for an unconventional recording setup in which inspiration happened while the band was doing other things. if anything i feel like this documentary helped provide context to his excellent memoir LIFE (linked HERE).
MICK JAGGER comes off guarded and bored with the topic. if not for RICHARDS this documentary, as expressed earlier, would have been entirely redundant and necessary. i wouldn't recommend watching this, but i would highly suggest you check out RICHARDS' memoir, which is one of the most compelling and insightful i have come across in recent years. that book is well-worth your time if you have any interest in THE ROLLING STONES, THE BRITISH INVASION or the evolution of 20th century popular music in western culture.
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