Shut Up and Sing (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner27/06/2007

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 93 mins

This terrific documentary is quite simply one of the best films of the year, thanks to superb direction, a captivating, important story, engaging characters, and a great soundtrack.

What's it all about?
In 2003, just after the anti-war march, top-selling US band the Dixie Chicks (Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire) played a gig in London, in which Natalie told the crowd that she was embarrassed that George Bush was from Texas. The comment got reported by a British paper and picked up by the US media, who lost no time in calling the Dixie Chicks traitors, banning their songs and generally turning them into hate figures.

However, despite death threats and mounting pressure from their record companies and sponsors, the Dixie Chicks refused to apologise. Instead they took a stand for free speech, eventually turning their experiences into a new, politically-charged album.

The Good
Directors Barbara Kopple and Cecilia Peck were granted an astonishing level of access to tell this story – the cameras are backstage with the Chicks as the story breaks and there are several surprisingly intimate moments throughout.

The film cleverly cuts between the growing media furore in 2003 and their older, wiser reunion in 2005 to record the new album, prior to another tour in 2006 (the film ends as it began, back on stage in London). The soundtrack is extremely good too, and you'll almost certainly be singing the title track as you leave the cinema.

The Great
Throughout their ordeal, the Chicks emerge as strong, likeable women who confront their situation with humour and courage – the film is often laugh-out-loud funny. Above all, the film skewers the astonishing hypocrisy of both the media and the American public, denouncing the Chicks as traitors while espousing freedom of speech in the same breath.

Worth seeing?
Shut Up and Sing is a compelling documentary that's funny, thought-provoking and ultimately extremely moving. It'll also make you want to rush out and buy Dixie Chicks albums. Unmissable.

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Content updated: 22/10/2017 12:42

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