The Stone Roses: Made of Stone
Shane Meadows' rockumentary fails to satisfy either as a concert film or fly-on-the-wall doc
To borrow from an old Stone Roses B-side, the Mancunian band’s much-hyped reunion may well have been ‘what the world is waiting for’, though it’s hard to claim the same for this accompanying Shane Meadows-directed documentary. The director of Dead Man’s Shoes and This is England rightly has a reputation as one of Britain’s most exciting filmmakers, but here he trots after Ian Brown and co like an excited little puppy, never quite sure whether he’s directing a behind-the-scenes fly-on-the-wall or a lush concert film. In the end, Made of Stone satisfies as neither.
Taking us from the band’s reformation in October 2011, through to the homecoming gigs at Manchester’s Heaton Park the following June, Meadows gets up close and personal, watching the band through rehearsals and some intimate warm-up gigs. There are some wonderful moments here, notably the band’s first gig back together, at Warrington’s Parr Hall. The energy is palpable, but even then, Meadows spends too long lingering on punters queuing to get in or weeping because they didn’t arrive in time to get their free wristbands.
A grassroots filmmaker, Meadows admirably tries to give a fan’s perspective, but being so close to the band means he rarely probes the enmity between singer Brown and guitarist John Squire or the moment when drummer Reni storms off stage at the Amsterdam gig. Most disappointing, however, is the Heaton Park show itself. Just one song is heard – ‘Fool’s Gold’ – which, while a great track, is hardly a triumphant tune to finish on. Surely ‘I Am the Resurrection’ would’ve been better? What emerges is a film of missed opportunities, as if Meadows had a backstage pass but squandered it drinking in the beer tent.
Limited release, screening on Thu 30 May.