The Martin Scorsese film ‘Shine a Light’, which records two concerts of the Rolling Stones in New York, is just fantastic. Intimate portrayal of the band members on stage, interacting with each other and the audience. Intense energy (not a surprise), ecstatic tone to the performance (more of a surprise, somehow). There were quite a few different (highly pedigreed) cinematographers so every nuance is captured, and they get all the righ angles to see facial expressions, interactions, and details of fingers playing. The level of intimacy is such that you feel not as if you were in the audience but as if you are on stage performing and interacting with them. Filmed for IMAX, even in a regular cinema the experience is one of heightened reality.
On the act itself, my initial thought was, ‘Mick is still doing the same routine as ever’ which could be considered stale, but the energy level and ecstatic tone meant that it didn’t feel stale at all. Aging rockers, yes, but not exactly faded and definitely still rocking. I was glad that the ‘Spinal Tap’-like bits in the open sequences were dropped early on in favour of just showing the performance.
The music is almost entirely great, I defy anyone to listen to the whole concert without moving and dancing in your seat at least a little. Highly recommended even if you are not the world’s biggest Stones fan.
How did they do the crane shot at the end…long tracking shot where the camera follows the band from the stage to outside the theatre, goes face-to-face with Martin Scorsese saying ‘Go Up! Up!’, becomes a crane shot as the camera swivels to rise above the crowd and face the theatre marquee, then helicopter? up and over New York City to take in the full panorama of city lights from far above the skyscrapers…all in one single smooth shot.