Movie Review: Stoned

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
Brian Jones was claimed to be the most gifted member of the Rolling Stones and his multi-instrumental influence on the music scene of the 60's was legendary. Nevertheless when his drug problem got out of hand, he was kicked out of the Stones. A few weeks later at the age of 27 he was found dead at the bottom of the swimming pool of his home previously owned by A. A Milne, creator of Winnie the Pooh. Stephen Wooley's film does not concentrate so much on the genius of Brian Jonesí musicianship but on the circumstances that led to his death. The UK director bases his film on the conspiracy theory established in three books - including one by Jones's Swedish girlfriend Anna Wohlin. Instead of a drug related accident these writers claim the musician was murdered by the disgruntled construction worker Frank Thorogood that Jones abused psychologically, sexually and economically. Monet Mazur is miscast as the celebrated girlfriend of Jones, Anita Pallberg. Pallberg incidentally was the evil queen in Roger Vadim's Barbarella, who refers to Jane Fonda as Pretty Pretty, Swedish newcomer Tuva Novotny plays Jones later girlfriend Anna Wohlin.

What is exceptional about the film is Wooley's creative use of the camera that has the feel of a Super 8 film and therefore evokes the spirit of the time. The color and graininess of the film stock and shakiness of the camera attempts to recreate the haze of drugs that encircled the latter part of Jones life. The story refuses to become a biopic, or even eulogize the Stones. Instead they appear to be rather ordinary rockers, interested in establishing their musical career, and worried about what to do with enfant terrible Brian Jones. Historical events such as Jean Luc Godardís film Sympathy for the Devil and the avant-garde German movie Jones works on with Pallberg are briefly introduced. What would have made the film more compelling was more in depth background. For example, Jones' influence on Jimi Hendrix and his interest in world music are only briefly alluded to in a trip the Stones make to Morocco, where his drug use takes center stage. Instead Stones it is very much a psychological portrait that concentrates on the cat and mouse game between Thorogood and Jones.

For Movie Magazine this is Moira Sullivan, Stockholm SWEDEN
More Information:
Stoned
2005 - UK