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The Rolling Stones "Crossfire Hurricane" Documentary Reviewed

Director Brett Morgen spent 80 hours interview the Rolling Stones for the HBO produced documentary "Crossfire Hurricane" and this is what he found out we didn't already know: nothing. There is more pure revelation in the current "Charlie Is My Darling" scene where Mick Jagger sings Elvis Presley  than this entire 150 minute retelling of the Rolling Stones first fifteen years of existence. That's not to say "Crossfire Hurricane: isn't good, I have no problem at all watching a 1960s video of the Stones performing "Jumping Jack Flash" or he Glimmer Twins lying about how they fired Brian Jones, if it is proceeded by Jones playing slide guitar on "No Expectations".  It is just a little bit of a waste.

All interviews occur off screen, all film is archival and I have seen probably 80% of it before, that number would be higher if I hadn't just seen "Charlie Is My Darling". And Jagger's comments in particular are not really illuminating. He is a smart fellow but at the heart of the matter he realizes a secret: he got very very lucky but he doesn't want to say so. So we get boiler plate stuff, sometimes from the actual time, about the mythic qualities of the Stones and Jagger in particular. 

Taking you from a brief reference to their 964 first album thru the Some Girls tour in 1979, it is a hurricane of a story that moves swiftly and smartly and not inaccurately. Of most interest to me was the recording of Exile On Main Street in the South of France, a time I've read about many times, from Keith's drug runner Tony Sanchez on the great "Up And Down With the Rolling Stones" to Keith's own "Life".

Something else occurs in the story, when you get past the drugs all that really happens is recording songs, touring and people dying,. Sometimes, like the great road manager and friend Ian Stewart, without a mention, sometimes with a bathetic crocodile tears pathos, like Brian Jones, and sometimes, and sometimes like Meredith Hunter, on the reel to reel. At the time, Richards said of the audience at Altamont, "They were asking for it", in "Crossfire Hurricane" they make their excuses. Hey, whatever you wanna say about Jefferson Airplane, Marty Balin got knocked unconscious trying to help the audience.  The Stones basically say, hey, we had nothing to do with it. Which makes two times (Jones is the other), they've lied about their past.

Well, Keith calls it a kinda fairy tale and I kinda agree so let's move on. 

How does "Crossfire Hurricane" compare to other Stones moves?

1. Sympathy For The Devil

2.  Charlie Is My Darling

3.  Cocksucker Blues

4. Ladies And Gentlemen: Rolling Stones

5. Crossfire Hurricane

6. Gimme Shelter

7. The Rock And Roll Circus

8. Shine A Light 

Grade: B+

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