David Byrne walks onto the stage and does a solo "Psycho Killer." Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz join him for two more songs. The crew is busy, still setting up. Then, three more musicians and two back-up singers join the band. Everybody sings, plays, harmonizes, dances, and runs. They change instruments and clothes. Bryne appears in the Big Suit. The backdrop is often black, but sometimes it displays words, images, or children's drawings. The band cooks for 18 songs, the lyrics are clear, the house rocks. In this concert film, the Talking Heads hardly talk, don't stop, and always make sense.Written by
The footage was culled from several different shows. In order to minimize the amount of cameras in the frame, one show was all shot from one side of the stage, the next night was shot from the other side. See more »
You can hear the bass of Tina Weymouth doing several slides in the last part of "Genius of Love" meanwhile she is showed dancing and not sliding. See more »
After getting my DVD player, this is one of the first discs I bought. I first saw this movie in the eighties as a fan of the music and was completely floored by a band at their peak. Since then, I've grown to appreciate good cinema as much as music, and I now look at Stop Making Sense from a slightly different perspective.
The movie stands up by any measure of cinematic quality - the direction, the photography, the lighting, the set design, the editing, the performances of the 'actors'. Everything is unquestionably good. A couple of illustrations -
During 'Once in a Lifetime', the camera holds on David Byrne, framing him from the waist up, and doesn't leave him until the very last moments of the song. His performance is absolutely enthralling. I've been trying to think of a movie where an actor holds one shot for so long, and I can't.
The photography and lighting during 'What a Day That Was' are beautiful. The stark white up-lighting reduces a large auditorium and stage to a claustrophobic collage of shadows. The effect is not unlike some scenes in Charles Laughton's 'Night of the Hunter'.
In contrast to some other views posted here, I think the Tom Tom Club's appearance adds a colourful punctuation to the flow of the movie.
The DVD is one of the very few I've come across where the commentary is worth listening to. It switches between all four band members plus Jonathan Demme, and the anecdotes are constantly interesting and often very funny. As a package, this is one of the most satisfying DVD's I own. All the extras are worthwhile and well presented, unlike most 'Special Editions' which are crammed full of junk you wouldn't normally give a second look.
It's a pity that, by its nature, Stop Making Sense will only ever appeal to a small audience, because it deserves to be revered by fans of cinema as well as music. The rock movie genre has only a handful of classics to its name, but Stop Making Sense is its Citizen Kane, its Exorcist, its Godfather, its Star Wars. It really is that good.
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