This was a heartwarming film by way of Harrison's music. The musical production was top notch. The film production was simple and functional. I expected more auteurism - more interviews, personal tidbits, more of a developed documentarian style...and more (some? any?) George Harrison - in person. This aspect was understated (at least compared to my expectations). George (almost) never appears in the film. A somewhat surprising choice considering how magnetic each of the Beatles are/were... and how much photo/film documentation they've undergone. Aside from merely two or three photo stills and a brief voice recording after the credits, George was represented totally via his music (and almost hauntingly by his son who shares many of his same unique mannerisms on stage). And a few short remembrances/personal interviews that always pertain to his music, not to his life.
In the end this makes sense. This film wasn't about George. It was a film about his friends remembering George in the best and most moving way they know - through the depth of Harrison's music, and through the love and respect apparent in performing his music. This was much more affective than any amount of personalized interviews. It was, after all, a Concert for George, a reminiscence by way of his songs - not by way of documentarian interviews. It becomes almost a meta work - the film documents with relative detachment a concert that documents George's music and life. Such a film necessarily lacks the same punch as the live concert - but it does not compensate by fully exploiting the advantages and accessibilities of the film medium. However, in the end this approach is not only more subtle and disciplined (directorially), but infinitely more poetic. The music and the performances tell the story. As I said, the choice worked but is somewhat unexpected, and may keep some wanting more George.
Aside from Eric Clapton's meandering and jejune guitar god solos, the musical performances were absolutely top notch. Although many stood out, my favorites were Joe Brown and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
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