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Stoned Review

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1969. On the verge of being sacked from The Rolling Stones by Jagger (de Woolfson) and Richards (Whishaw), band founder Brian Jones (Gregory) wallows in wine, women and self-pity in his English country mansion. Shortly thereafter, he's found dead in his swimming pool...

★★★★★

Having spent ten years developing Stoned (which originally bore the title The Wycked World Of Brian Jones), producer Stephen Woolley elected to direct what had become a labour of love. The script went through a series of rewrites, and the finished version, penned by James Bond scribes Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, interestingly takes the form less of a straight rock star biopic than an homage to trippy ’60s cinema — most obviously Performance, in which Jagger starred (and reportedly modelled his burnt-out musician character on Jones).

Accordingly, Stoned features a good deal of nudity, much tricksy camerawork and a kaleidoscopic rock ’n’ roll soundtrack, the latter employing modern covers of early Stones classics by the likes of The White Stripes. These retro stylings are used not just to evoke Jones’ hedonistic lifestyle, but also to paint black, as it were, the butt-end of the ’60s, when the hippy dream had turned sour.

It’s all anchored by a spirited performance by Leo Gregory as Jones and a sultry one by Monet Mazur as girlfriend Anita Pallenberg, with Paddy Considine putting in a typically impressive turn as Frank Thorogood, the labourer secretly charged with keeping Jones on the straight and narrow.

More than just another dead-celeb biopic, this is an effective evocation of the era in which Jones lived and died.