GOLD MEDAL FILM
Produced by Porter Bibb, Ronald Schneider
Featuring The Rolling Stones
Running Time: 91 minutes
In December of 1969, which was four months after Woodstock, the Rolling Stones have given a free concert in Northern Carolina together with Jefferson Airplane. Around 300,000 people attended the concert and the organizers had put Hell's Angels in charge of the security around the stage. But at the time, Hell's Angels had actually armed themselves with pool cues as well as knives and they spent the entire concert beating up spectators, which had also resulted in the possible death of one. Gimme Shelter intercuts between the concert performance, the violence, Grace Slick and Mick Jagger's desperate attempts to calm down the riots, closeups of the spectators, as well as a look at the Stones in their future reflecting about what happened then.
What exactly are the perfect words to describe what I had witnessed right here? Gimme Shelter is no ordinary concert film but it is perhaps what I can only call the most incredible movie of its very own kind to have ever been made. This is not a very easy documentary to watch at moments, but regardless what we will be coming across right here is something that will shock your very eyes. I've been a very big fan of the Rolling Stones (mostly because I have a soft spot for old rock music), and I could not at all resist what exactly I had come across in Gimme Shelter. A film like this one should simply be commended for all of its wonders, and should be experienced by anyone who simply loves the Rolling Stones for what they are.
There are those moments in the film that are certainly never going to leave your head once you see them right here. When the film portrays the violence which happened over at the concert, it's something that simply shocks you and never at all is something that you can forget. I can only imagine what sort of impact it would have left upon the Rolling Stones from that moment on, and the way that the Maysles brothers have presented it within this documentary about that tragic event is something that will remain within the viewers' heads. Gimme Shelter is particularly unforgettable for many reasons, and this here is one of them. It gets difficult to watch when you think about the violence which actually had taken place over at the concert. That's one thing about Gimme Shelter which has not left me since.
What can we say about how much of the concert performance we get to see in the film? At the very least, you get enough to watch out of the Rolling Stones' concert from that time and some rather great soundtracks can be heard here and there. Gimme Shelter provided enough moments from that wonderful concert (which also resulted in tragedy) and their onstage performances are still enough to provide a great soundtrack for the film. There's already so much to admire about such a film when the Rolling Stones provide quite a great soundtrack for it as a whole. What's not to love about the soundtrack when you have the Rolling Stones?
Even offstage, the film has very many interesting moments being offered. There's never a single conversation that takes place offstage that is any less interesting than the very last moment that is already being offered still leaves you interested in what exactly do the Stones have to say about the matter of the tragic concert. Do any of the interviews ever become less interesting than the last, or the frenzy over at the concert, or the live performance that very day? I can't ever think of a single moment in which it has ever fell flat on a person like myself. Every last conversation here is just as fascinating as the very last moment, and that's something which I know makes a great documentary film.
I'm already working to familiarize myself with the work of the directors, Albert and David Maysles. At the moment, the only other film of theirs which I have seen was another documentary film which is also available on the Criterion Collection, and that film which I am speaking of is none other than Grey Gardens, which I also believe to be a fine example of documentary filmmaking. So far, I can only say that I need to look much deeper into their work seeing how much I had loved what exactly I had gotten out of Gimme Shelter. The Maysles have created a masterpiece like no other, a film that is not just a film, but an experience.
There's a lot that I look for inside of a great rock documentary which is being offered from start to finish in Gimme Shelter. Sure, I do have my admiration for The Last Waltz or Stop Making Sense, but Gimme Shelter still remains what I believe is the greatest of all rock movies for many reasons. However, of all the rock movies that I have ever come across in my entire life so far, Gimme Shelter still remains my personal favourite. Being a very big fan of the Rolling Stones, I knew that I were to step right out of Gimme Shelter pleased with what exactly I had just witnessed right here. And I believe at this very moment that this is a movie that simply must be seen by anyone out there who is a fan of the Rolling Stones. Don't get fooled by the 2013 film which shares the same name, instead search out this film and what you will be in for is simply a masterpiece in documentary filmmaking.