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Crossfire Hurricane (3 stars)

Spirited documentary celebrating 50 years of The Rolling Stones

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Crossfire Hurricane

Marking the 50th anniversary of The Rolling Stones, this spirited documentary from Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture) is made up of vintage footage of the Stones during their prime and is brought bang up to date with new audio reflections from Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Ronnie Wood, Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor.

Beginning with their meteoric rise, Crossfire Hurricane first shows The Stones as overgrown schoolboys - a bad boy equivalent to The Beatles - before they establish themselves as a formidable musical force. The film takes us all the way to the early 80s and the band's eventual acceptance by the establishment. Clips from concerts remind us that The Rolling Stones were impressive live performers and, as young men at least, they often make for mischievously entertaining interviewees. They discuss their sometimes haphazard song-writing process and the highs and lows of their drug-fuelled lifestyle. More sombre moments see them respond to founder member Brian Jones’ death and to the disastrous Altamont Speedway Free Festival.

The new audio-only interviews deny us the full spectrum of the Stones’ reaction, although this at least allows us, visually, to live in each moment. More problematic though is the fact that anyone with even a passing knowledge of the band will be aware that there’s a lot missing here. Women and their influence on the music have been omitted entirely, giving the impression that this authorised account has been diluted down. Ultimately, by focusing on energetically edited footage of Stones at their musical peak, Morgen has made an immersive documentary that thoroughly entertains yet neglects to sufficiently enlighten. And the drugs and rock ‘n’ roll may well be present but they’ve all but slung out the sex.

Selected release from Thu 18 Oct.

The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • UK/US
  • Directed by: Brett Morgen

Entertaining but insufficiently enlightening documentary about the Stones, focusing on edited footage of the band at its long-distant peak and omitting any mention of women and their influence on the music. The contemporary interviews are audio-only, making it feel even more diluted.

The Rolling Stones

The veteran band, featuring original members singer Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards, celebrates 50 years since its formation in London by playing its hits including Jumpin' Jack Flash and Brown Sugar.

The Rolling Stones - Crossfire Hurricane (Trailer)

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