Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    May be the most intimate documentary ever made about a live rock 'n' roll concert. Certainly it has the best coverage of the performances onstage.
  2. Reviewed by: Joel Selvin
    100
    An exhilarating documentary.
  3. 91
    An altogether astounding testimony to the band's longevity, vitality and verve.
  4. An exhilarating musical experience.
  5. 91
    Shine a Light has two maestros, Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger, and once they begin to mesh, around the third or fourth song, they put on a display of showmanship that erases the line between art and entertainment.
  6. Shine a Light may not be the last Rolling Stones movie, but it's likely to be the last one with a touch of the poet about it.
  7. As the director of the documentary Shine a Light, Martin Scorsese is a besotted rock ā€™nā€™ roll fan who wholeheartedly embraces its mythology.
  8. Reviewed by: Raoul Hernandez
    89
    Dedicated to Atlantic Records fountainhead Ahmet Ertegun, whose complications from injuries sustained in a tumble backstage at the Beacon resulted in his death, let the record show that a lifetime of musical innovation concluded with dying not at but FROM a Rolling Stones concert.
  9. 88
    This you-are-there spellbinder is a master director shining his light on the best rock band on the planet.
  10. Shine a Light is one of those lions-in-winter affairs, and Jagger, who has a body fat count of negative 67, can still dance like a maniacal popinjay, and Richards still looks like a satyr who has stayed up all night every night of his adult life.
  11. 88
    Shine a Light provides the clearest and most intimate viewing experience of the band to date. It is also a happy circumstance that the group, now in their mid-60s, have rarely sounded tighter.
  12. Reviewed by: Elysa Gardner
    88
    The genius of Scorsese's film, which is being shown in IMAX in 93 theaters, is that it reveals the Stones' mortality while celebrating all that makes them more than mere mortals.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    88
    Shine a Light did something I didn't think was possible. It got me caring about the Rolling Stones again.
  14. In Shine a Light, a crackling concert movie directed by Martin Scorsese, the Rolling Stones are now so old that they seem new again.
  15. 83
    Shine A Light pays tribute to the band's essential agelessness.
  16. Shine A Light is essentially just an expertly made concert film. But what a concert! (And what a camera team.)
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 29 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 4 out of 18
  1. BrianD.
    Aug 11, 2008
    4
    What a boring and sterile concert! Clean cut millionaires masquerading as rebel renegades. The sound was crystal clear and the photography's brilliant, but far too polished. Best part was "Champagne and Reefer". Full Review »
  2. Andio
    Apr 6, 2008
    7
    I saw the Rolling Stones live last year for the first time and I was blown away. I've been a Stones fan for decades but have never had any interest in stadium rock concerts with their huge crowds and tiny stars on stage. The few stadium shows I've attended were always mediocre experiences. But the Stones' Bigger Bang tour changed my mind. For one, the enormous video screens make every seat great. Beyond that, it was the Rolling Stones that won me over. Rocking songs, incredible performances, unbelievable energy, and every one in the crowd dancing and singing the whole show. And these guys are in their sixties! Watching 'Shine a Light' on IMAX at times made me feel like I was actually at a live Stones concert, but then I kept feeling that something key was missing. And it was. Martin Scorsese covered the two explosive shows at the Beacon Theater in New York with 18 cameras but he somehow missed getting the band. As expected, lead singer and ringmaster, Mick Jagger, gets the most screen time, with guitarist, Keith Richards, coming in a not too distant second. And then there's Ron Wood, the second guitarist, and some might argue, the better soloist, He has juicy moments on screen, but is shockingly absent time and again when soloing, the camera instead lingering on a prancing Jagger or posing Richards. And where is drummer Charlie Watts? Watching 'Shine a Light' one might think the Stones had backing tracks instead of a live drummer. Watts is the quiet one (who doesn't dye his hair) but he's the backbone of their sound, keeping time, holding it down while the boys jump around. I kept wanting to see shots of Watts, not only for the variety of imagery and the visual reinforcement that there really is a live drummer hitting the cowbell on 'Honky Tonk Women,' but also because he's an original Rolling Stone. Sadly, there are only a handful of very brief clips featuring Watts, and just as few wide shots of the whole band on stage. And Watts is not the only one nearly absent from the movie. Although the original members are Jagger, Richards, Watts and Wood (Wood joined in 1974 so he's not actually an original Stone), they tour with a number of key support musicians, including bass player, Daryl Jones (who's worked with them since 1994), a keyboardist, a horn section and three back-up singers. However, except for some brief interplay between Jagger and the back-up singers, the other musicians are absent from the film. It's not so unusual to relegate non-member, support players to minor roles in concert movies, but to avoid them altogether is baffling and frustrating. The support musicians may not be Rolling Stones but they are a part of the band. They are playing the music and adding to the sights and sounds on stage. But 'Shine a Light' mostly kept them in the dark. This isn't how a real concert is experienced. In concert the other players are seen and often featured in the spotlight as soloists. But time and again in 'Shine a Light', we hear a piano riff, a sax solo, a horn section blast, a bass run, but we never actually see who's playing. We neither get full nor medium shots, nor even close-ups of hands playing. We don't even get quick cuts of the support players, as one might see interspersed regularly throughout most filmed live concerts today. Instead, we see lingering shots of Jagger and Richards, sometimes so close you can see the brown behind Jagger's teeth, while a saxophone or some other player wails somewhere off-camera. The Stones sound is some much more than guitar, bass, drums and vocals. A concert is so much more than the starring players, but you don't get that from this film. It's as if the film makers had tin ears. This is baffling because they had 18-camera shooting the action. So the film makers either didn't get the coverage, or they decided in the editing room not to include the other players. Bad decision. This gives the movie, the Stones concert experience, a frustrating myopic feel. I kept wanting to see what I was hearing, but couldn't. I kept wanting to get a visual of the focal point in the song and on stage, but it was not delivered. Even one of the few times Jaggar plays harmonica is off-camera. This left me feeling short-changed. Ultimately, 'Shine a Light' is slightly claustrophobic, with all its medium and close shots. It rarely opens up to show the entire band on stage. The film suffers as a result, as wide shots would have provided much needed breathing room, offering a more open perspective, and also providing the myriad tight shots with context. We do see the interplay between Jagger and Richards, or between Richards and Wood, but we don't see the whole band working together as a unit. And ultimately that's what a live Stones show, or any live rock show is all about--a group of individuals performing together as a band. Even if Scorsese decided that the film was all about the four Stones, he could have easily divided the enormous screen into quads, now and again, so we could see the four Stones working their magic simultaneously in a multi-screen format. This is common place today and highly effective. It's baffling that with all the resources at hand and experience behind him, Scorsese didn't quite deliver the goods. It's as if his infatuation with the visages of Jagger and Richards blinded him from showing us the Rolling Stones. 'Shine a Light' is enjoyable for sure, but suffers from a limited vision. Full Review »
  3. KevinH.
    Apr 6, 2008
    6
    The editing is too frenetic and too cute, and kow-tows to Mick and Keith at the expense of the audience, robbing us of a master's portrait of the full breadth of the musical construction going on with this fantastic band. Real fans want to see a lot of Charlie and Ronnie, see a taste of Darryl Jones on key bass lines, see Chuck Lavell's super sturdy keyboard work and see the singers and the horn section here and there. The movie was edited like it was for Inside Hollywood - stars only. A sadly wasted opportunity. With The Last Waltz as the bar, this movie fell way short. Instead, it earns the title of the best Stones movie ever, but nowhere close to being a great movie. Full Review »