Film review: Crossfire Hurricane

With a title lifted from one of their most iconic tracks, this addition to the wealth of Rolling Stones' retrospectives could be the best yet.

Directed by Brett Morgan and steered by Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Charlie Watts, the vault doors have been blown off to reveal some of the most enlightening footage from the golden years of the band.

Director: Brett Morgan
Rating: (M)
4 stars (out of 5)

Even at 111 minutes, the production team wisely steers clear of anything post-1990. Grainy footage from the band's formation, through the ranks of '60s pop group mania and into '70s hedonism, Crossfire Hurricane is an invigorating romp through the minds-eye of the six survivors and the tragedy of the one who didn't.

Piecing together the narrative from interview excerpts without ever seeing the band members is a little unusual. If you can't tell the difference between, say, Richards' lyrical croak and Watts' laconic monotone, then certain aspects will be a wee bit confusing.

That said, once you get on board with the roller-coaster ride that Morgan and the Stones set up, Crossfire Hurricane is a revelation. Nothing has been spared, with the archive reels being used for all their worth, and with a sound that is nothing short of astounding, it's a riveting insight into rock 'n' roll culture.

Given that the band is elebrating its 50th anniversary, you could be excused for thinking that every frame of celluloid capturing the Stones would have already been exhausted ... apparently not.

Best thing: The editing and sound design: a triumph in taking the old and making it fresh.

Worst thing: Never getting to see the interviewees ... even for a few seconds.

See it with: Someone who digs music, history, rogues and a story that you wouldn't believe if it weren't true.

By Mark Orton.