Sunday 21 January 2018

Making of Stone

Film Review: The Stone Roses: Made of Stone (15A, limited release, 96 minutes) 4 STARS

Director: Shane Meadows Stars: Ian Brown, John Squire, Gary Mounfield, Alan Wren

In late 2011, when The Stone Roses announced they'd be reforming to play live for the first time in 15 years, filmmaker Shane Meadows was among those most excited.

Meadows describes himself as "a mad little Stone Roses fan", and was even more thrilled when Ian Brown rang him and asked would he make a documentary about the reunion.

In other hands, The Stone Roses: Made of Stone could easily have collapsed into bland hagiography, especially given the clashing egos and massive reputations involved.

But Meadows blends past and present, music and drama to create a surprisingly compelling little film. Instead of focusing exclusively on the muddled psychodrama of the group themselves, Meadows widens his canvas to includes fans of the band, especially those from Manchester, to try and give a sense of just how influential an outfit they were.

There was something compelling about the Roses' blend of 1960s and 1970s influences: the band singlehandedly launched the 'Madchester' movement, and their debut was acclaimed as one of the greatest British rock albums of all time.

Then came the problems and they broke up acrimoniously in 1996.

Given singer Brown's swaggering hubris and the urban legends that have grown around the band, it's tempting to dismiss them as overhyped. But as soon as they gather for rehearsals and Meadow's camera captures the opening bars of Waterfall, you remember instantly just how very special they were.

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