Stoned (2005)

Sex and drugs are pretty much par for the course in any depiction of the rock and roll lifestyle, and they’re both abundantly present in Stoned. A semi-biographical movie about the life and death of Brian Jones, the film focuses on the musician’s mildly sadistic relationship with Frank Thorogood, a builder who’s sucked into the glitz and glamour of the star’s life only to eventually become his killer.

Founder of incredibly popular and influential Rolling Stones, Jones is portrayed as a rather immature, petulant character, irresistibly drawn into self-destructive behaviour that adversely affects everyone around him. The film’s attention is perhaps slightly misplaced, as the warts-and-all portrayal of the rock star leaves him curiously devoid of charisma. Much of the story seems rather redundant: using Jones’s bizarre death as a starting point and fleshing out the story through flashbacks seems almost clumsy, especially when following Frank’s perspective of events would surely have produced a more interesting movie.

The soundtrack is conspicuously devoid of any Rolling Stones music, presumably due to the extortionate royalties. Unfortunately, the music that’s been drafted in as a replacement ranges from uninspired to utterly clichéd; this problem is recurrent in much of the imagery, like the unoriginal psychedelically coloured depictions of acid trips.

While fans of the Stones might appreciate this movie, ultimately it’s not terribly compelling, with little to differentiate this from any other film about the free love and easy access drugs of the swinging Sixties. It’s also debatable whether Brian Jones is still as relevant or iconic as the film seems to think he is.

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