Trite Rabbit: Predictable Psychotronic Pseudo-Biopic

Animated waxworks: Monet Mazur and Gregory
photo: Kerry Brown
Animated waxworks: Monet Mazur and Gregory

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Stoned
Directed by Stephen Woolley
Screen Media, opens March 24, Landmark Sunshine

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Construction foreman Frank Thorogood allegedly admitted on his deathbed to the murder of Rolling Stones founding fop Brian Jones, and Stoned, the first feature directed by veteran British producer Stephen Woolley, takes this confession at face value, portraying the passive-aggressive relationship between the smug, infantile dandy Jones (Leo Gregory) and the uptight, working-class bloke Thorogood (Paddy Considine) as a "death by misadventure" waiting to happen. Stoned stumbles upon any number of possible themes—songwriting, performance, fame, addiction, class conflict—and toddles distractedly away from all of them, its smothering style an amalgam of the standardized pretensions of a turn-of-the-'70s head movie (free-associative editing, an LSD trip scored to "White Rabbit") and the stultifying conventions of the biopic (a BBC report explains Jones's influence, Jones himself is prone to reciting autobiographical flashback cues, etc.). The pointlessly jumbled chronology suggests a film assembled at random, and the parade of miming look-alikes (Mick & Keith, Anita Pallenberg) and dutifully restaged anecdotes resembles an animated waxworks—the period upholstery is a death shroud, while the lysergic flow of lurid color acts as embalming fluid. The rock hero starts out dead and so does the movie.

 
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