The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner05/06/2013

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Hugely entertaining, lovingly put-together rock-doc that blends concert footage, archive material, vox pops and fly-on-the-wall camerawork to winning effect, whether you’re a die-hard fan of the band or a relative newcomer.

What's it all about?
Directed by Shane Meadows (making his documentary debut), The Stone Roses: Made of Stone follows Manchester-born band The Stone Roses (vocalist Ian Brown, bass player Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield, drummer Alan ‘Reni’ Wren and lead guitarist John Squire) as they prepare for their much-anticipated 2012 reunion tour, culminating in a huge comeback gig at Heaton Park. This includes playing a number of European concerts, including a special free gig at Warrington’s Parr Hall, announced online earlier that day, with the proviso that fans had to bring something to prove they were worthy of tickets.

Meadows himself appears in the film, announcing himself as a full-blown fan of the band who was delighted to receive the call from Brown, asking him to document their comeback. He also includes a wealth of archive material (TV appearances, gigs, home movie footage etc) that gives a good flavour of the band’s early beginnings (including an excruciating, almost monosyllabic interview) and first taste of fame but steers largely clear of their various bust-ups and what they got up to during their 16 year absence.

The Good
Meadows is an extremely likeable character and the band were obviously happy to have him around, giving him unrestricted access to rehearsal sessions, car journeys, backstage antics and so on; as such, their bantering is enjoyable to watch, though it’s telling that Meadows excuses himself from filming duties after the European tour threatens to go off the rails (drummer Reni walks off after an incident in Amsterdam); as a fan of the band, he clearly has no interest in digging around in whatever tensions there are within the group.

Meadows uses a variety of techniques throughout the film, giving it a sort of scrapbook effect, which feels entirely suitable to the project; this pays particular dividends during the extended Parr Hall gig sequence (shot in black and white), which includes vox pops with ecstatic fans, the joy written all over their faces as they try and explain what the band means to them. Meadows also adds a couple of intriguingly off-the-wall touches: the opening of the film has a voiceover of Alfred Hitchcock talking about the pleasure of creative freedom, while the closing uses voiceover by William Burroughs.

The Great
It’s fair to say that the film is intended more as a celebration of the band (and their comeback) than a warts-and-all rock doc; it’s unlikely the archive footage will yield anything new to die-hard fans, for example. Similarly, Meadows is possibly a little too reverent when it comes to including the songs themselves - at a certain point the film essentially becomes a concert movie, with entire, often lengthy songs (such as Fool’s Gold) played in full.

Worth seeing?
The Stone Roses: Made of Stone is a hugely entertaining rock-doc that will appeal to fans of the band and newcomers alike. Highly recommended.

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The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone (15)
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Content updated: 19/10/2017 04:47

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