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STONED, 2005
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STONED,  MOVIE POSTERSTONED, 2005
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Directed by Stephen Woolley
Starring: Leo Gregory, Paddy Considine, David Morrissey, Ben Whishaw, Amelia Warner
Review by Stefan Leverton


SYNOPSIS:

Fact-based story about the drug-addled and sordid life of The Rolling Stones founder Brian Jones. Unfortunately the story moves so quickly into the sensationalized decadence and drug-induced state of Jones, that the unknowing viewer has to wonder why anyone would care. There are only a few framing sequences with members of The Stones, particularly Keith Richards, that show they had a great respect for him and tried to bring him back into the band as he drifted away. Mixed into the destruction of Jones is a common builder, Frank Thorogood, who is given the unenviable task of trying to please Jones by rebuilding his estate and to watch him per Jones' manager's instructions. Thorogood's life is so far removed from all of the sex and drugs that he sees, that he envies and desires the tawdry life as well, but never quite fits in. Unfortunately, at least according to this film and according to a supposed death bed confessional of Thorogood in 1993, it led to Thorogood's murder of Jones in a swimming pool "accident".

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REVIEW:

Stoned is the biopic of Rolling Stones founder member Brian Jones. And as most biopics’ do, it catalogues Jones’ rise to fame with his rhythm and blues band, their hedonistic success portrayed in a bare all, matter –of-fact kind of way, and Jones’ personal decline into a paranoid, drug embalmed lifestyle.

What’s different about the way this story is dealt with is that another side to the film is during Jones final months, which are seen through the eyes of hired landscapist, Frank Thorogood, played with usual gusto by Paddy Considine, a formidable and commanding performer. Thorogood is in league with the Stones’ manager who, in wanting to skim off the drawn out work and draw upon Jones wealth, has introduced Frank and inaugurated him into Jones inner circle. Their relationship at first is tentative moving onto becoming buddies, but it becomes evident that Frank has a slightly unhinged personality and in a mix of desperation, intrigue and longing pushes his way further into Jones’ life.

It’s the emphasis on Frank (and his apparently real life testimony from his death bed about his involvement in Jones final days and most revelatory, his death) that gives the film its angle and most interesting feature. Coupled with more familiar and infamous highlights from Jones well-known career as a Rolling Stone, Stoned is a quite captivating and appealing film, though its attraction for people who aren’t Stones fans or even music fans is debatable. Mainly because Jones himself is portrayed as quite the rock’n’roll dandy. While a fascinating character his likability is questionable, and for people not interested in the background may find it hard to wonder why to even bother. Which is why clever distinction has been made to concentrate on Thorogood’s part in the tale, Considine is a full on actor and his aggression in the part is the real treat of the film, as Jones side of the bargain does offer an almost clichéd version of the usual rock yarn.

Whether Thorogood’s testimony to his involvement in Jones’ ‘accident’ is to be believed, is simply what the films built on, fuelling the mystery and intrigue in the story. The fact it is born out of the most vibrant time in modern culture, the 60’s, swimming in sex, drugs and rock and roll viewers are treated to as much a visually appealing film as it does to ones thirst for knowledge.

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