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  Stoned Not Fade Away
Year: 2005
Director: Stephen Woolley
Stars: Leo Gregory, Paddy Considine, David Morrissey, Ben Whishaw, Tuva Novotny, Amelia Warner, Monet Mazur, Luke de Woolfson, David Walliams, David Williams, Gary Love, Johnny Shannon, Melanie Ramsay, Rüdiger Rudolf, Ralph Brown, Alfie Allen, Guy Flanagan
Genre: BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: On the evening of the 3rd of July 1969, former Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones (Leo Gregory) was discovered drowned at the bottom of his swimming pool. He had been sacked from the group a few short weeks before because his drug habit made him impossible to work with, and had spent his final days in the company of his girlfriend Anna (Tuva Novotny) and the man who had been brought in to do building work for him, Frank Thorogood (Paddy Considine). Could Frank have had something to do with Brian's death?

Maybe, maybe not, and Stoned didn't really convince either way. It was the directorial debut of respected British producer Stephen Woolley, the man behind such successes as The Company of Wolves and Mona Lisa, and written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who had a few hit Bond movies under their belts. Sadly, there was little dynamic about this sluggish trawl through the sordid life of Jones, and even sadder you leave the film less interested in him than you did at the start.

As Jones, Gregory plays under a huge blond wig and looks about ten years older than Jones did when he died (Worzel Gummidge, anyone?). As the title suggests, it was the drug abuse that doomed Brian, as he spends most of the film slurring through a haze of narcotics and pining after ex-girlfriend Anita Pallenberg (Monet Mazur) who, according to this, he had practically driven into the arms of Keith Richards (Ben Whishaw) to his eternal regret. But this isn't just the ex-Stone's story.

For there's his supposed murderer to contend with as well. Considine does better with his character than Gregory does, but as they were both meant to embody two sides of 1960s Britain, perhaps there was too much significance hanging over their heads. If Brian was hedonistic to a fault, then Frank was the Britain that was still stuck in the fifties, and both repelled by and attracted to this new culture. Frank is fooled into thinking he is now part of Brian's cricle simply because he is relied on to make the star his dinner, and that's a mistake both of them make.

Woolley does his best to recreate the era, but not only is there no Stones music heard, he is apparently under the impression that what he is adapting is the real life Performance, and there are echoes of that film in Stoned. They don't hold together too well, and seeing as how the only new aspect the filmmakers are bringing to the party is the murder element, the experience is fatally lacking in surprises because we are well aware of the crime even before we have started watching the film. So what you have to sit through is about a hundred montages of Brian behaving badly to get to a punchline that is still factually somewhat dubious. Only Considine, always watchable, emerges with credibility. Music by David Arnold.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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