Heroes of the Zeroes: Shine a Light
Heroes of the Zeroes is Nick Rogers’ daily, alphabetical look back at the 365 best films of 2000-2009.
“Shine a Light”
As age-indicating acronyms go, the Rolling Stones are closer to AARP than OMFG. So does the live wire of performing still spark, or are their aching muscles running only on memory and money?
Beyond death, few revelations remain for the Stones, rendering Martin Scorsese’s “Shine a Light” less of a fact-finding mission than his previous rock docs. The main focus is simply whether these iconographic rockers still have it.
In this 2008 showcase, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts tore through songs both trusty (“As Time Goes By,” “Start Me Up,” “Sympathy for the Devil”) and dusty (“Connection,” “She Was Hot,” “Loving Cup”), but never rusty.
Set aside a stagey prologue with a panicky Scorsese kvetching about directorial needs — as if his supergroup of camera-operating cinematographers won’t get from each shot precisely what they want.
Once the Stones push “Jumpin’ Jack Flash’s” tempo toward a cliff, Scorsese treats “Light” like a character piece about artistic give-and-take, not a mere concert film.
Jagger is the only (mostly) straight man that can exude masculinity in a glittery black T-shirt, and his flamboyant gyrations clash with Watts’ tight-pocket drumming. As legendarily mush-mouthed and mentally vagabond as ever, Richards asserts Wood is a better guitarist before acknowledging it no longer matters.
Guests amble onstage — Buddy Guy similarly fooling the reaper on a piss-and-vinegar “Champagne and Reefer” and Christina Aguilera adding heaven-crashing howls to “Live with Me.” But the Stones address Scorsese’s questions fine on their own: If they’re ambulatory, they’re ageless.