Nick Broomfield (Marianna & Leonard: Words of Love) returns to musical subject matter with his sympathetic and tragic doc The Stones and Brian Jones.
Through a collection of cleaned-up archival footage, various interviews (some seen, some heard) and hollow-sounding narration by Broomfield himself, The Stones and Brian Jones chronicles the conception of legendary English rock band The Rolling Stones. Despite sounding like a “rock-doc”, the film actually wants to give audiences more of a first-hand perspective from band founder Brian Jones. As the band experienced several eras, these creative changes shifted the intentions of the band and Jones’ integrity as a musician and business partner.
While Broomfield isn’t afraid to be personal with subject matter that he’s clearly very passionate about, the choppy editing and pacing of his documentary feels manipulative at times. Informational subtitles do too much of the narrative driving for Broomfield’s filmmaking that occasionally feels like the movie is shoving the audience towards an opinion. Since Broomfield does a great job of showing the gradual evolution of an iconic group of musicians, the heavy use of text to glue pieces of the movie together is a let down.
The Stones and Brian Jones tries to appeal to everyone until it becomes obvious that the documentary is truly meant for completists of The Rolling Stones. Considering the alienation between myself and Jones’ story, Broomfield’s distinct cutoff from casual fans was an easier pill to swallow than expected. While this may be a bummer for people eager to learn something new about the band and Brian Jones (the latter really does deserve a McQueen-influenced doc about him), The Stones and Brian Jones will surely satisfy those with pre-invested interest.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie