Shine a Light
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Pat Pilon (15th August 2008).
The Film

The movie beings, appropriately enough, with Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger talking about how to start the movie. A few days later, I imagine, a few days before the concert, Martin Scorsese wants to know the concert's setlist to know on whom to concentrate his cameras, while Mick Jagger is still debating and revising the setlist he wants, looking at Mr. Scorsese's suggestions. The day of the big show, Ronnie Wood looks forward to the final setlist, still not knowing what he'll be playing in a few hours, while Charlie Watts is silently annoyed by the lighting tests done for the movie. The concert time gets closer, and band members rejoice that there will be a live audience soon enough. Finally, in his booth, Mr. Scorsese gets the setlist, with the first song being 'Jumping Jack Flash', and so the concert beings with the camera on Keith Richards.

The music starts and everything falls into place. Mr. Scorsese has the camera angles he wants, and the camera moves smoothly across the stage and around the audience, capturing the magic that is a Rolling Stones concert.

Indeed, the editing and filming are very well done, getting all kinds of small moments the audience sees, but that filmgoers would usually miss due to the limitations of the film frame. Martin Scorsese knows how to capture the special moments that happen on stage and convey how those things make a concert a special event. Little additions on guitar or looks by the band members are all caught on camera, and give the viewers arguably a better view of the concert than members of the audience. There's nothing better than getting the best seat in the house, even amid great songs.

In between the various songs throughout the concert are spliced-in clips of the Rolling Stones at various points in their career. The clips start 2 years after they started, to the late 1970s, it seems. Through them, you learn their history and some of the hardships they went through. These clips only gloss over their career and never really focus on particularly good or bad events. This movie is about the concert and the clips chosen only reflect that. The band members talk about music and not much else.

In addition to this, the fans had some nice surprises, as the group welcomed a few special guests. Jack White, Buddy Guy and Christina Aguilera join the gang on stage, helping pump up the energy levels and drive the fans absolutely wild.

The energy for the 2-hour-plus show is extremely high throughout, and the Rolling Stones, after 40 years can still deliver a great show. For those attending the concert, it must have been quite an experience, and thanks to Martin Scorsese's masterful eye and attention to detail, the concert is very enjoyable for home viewing, as well.


1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The movie uses various clips of the Rolling Stones through the years, and all of them look pretty good despite their age. The concert at hand looks very nice, with strong blacks and decent shadow detail. The sparkly things on Mick Jagger's t-shirt shine the lights they way they're supposed to, and the sweat beads off the band's face the way it should. The level of detail is pretty good, with very strong compression, never showing macroblocking or artifacting. There's some grain, but it looks very nice, and never turns to noise. The colours are accurate, and reflect the nice lighting of the show. The stark earth tones come out very nicely, contrasting with the strong blue and purple background. A nice transfer all around.


The movie comes with two English tracks, a Dolby Digital 5.1 and a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. The music comes through very clearly, with the lyrics, guitars and drums coexisting in a nice harmony. Nothing overpowers anything else and you feel you're there in Austin with the whole gang. The rear speakers get used frequently, whether for guitars, brass or the audience clapping. The sound is so good, you can actually hear the audience singing in unison with Mick Jagger in some songs. This brought goosebumps to my arms. It's a great track and pretty powerful.
English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided.


Some Martin Scorsese discs are packed full of stuff, but unfortunately 'Shine a Light' is a bit slim.

First is Supplemental Featurette (15:10), which is just a supplement to the movie. It's basically an extra 15 minutes to the movie. It's vintage interview bits spliced in with rehearsal footage of the band practicing on the big day (or a little bit earlier). It's fun to watch but doesn't really belong in the movie.

Some Bonus Songs are next. These are just more songs from the concert: 'Undercover of the Night' (4:25), 'Paint It Black' (4:39), 'Little T & A' (4:08) and 'I'm Free' (3:34). 'Paint It Black' is probably one my favorite Stones songs so I'm glad it's included.

The musical and other Credits are next. Finishing everything off are some Previews: 'Stop-Loss' (0:31), 'Heart of Gold' (2:13), 'No Direction Home' (1:47), 'American Teen' (2:48), 'Defiance' (2:03), 'The Duchess' (1:49) and 'Son of Rambow' (2:25) are here. The last 4 trailers are also start-up trailers.


The Film: A- Video: B+ Audio: B+ Extras: C Overall: B+


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