Reviewed by GREG KING.
There have been many biopics and films looking at the self-destructive lifestyles of rock musicians – from Oliver Stone’s The Doors through to the fictitious The Rose, and even the Streisand version of A Star Is Born.
Add to that distinguished list the decidedly inferior Stoned, a sometimes muddled biopic about the tragic life and times of Brian Jones, a guitarist and founding member of the Rolling Stones, who epitomised the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll lifestyle. He disagreed with the band’s musical direction, and, fuelled by copious amounts of drugs, he became increasingly more paranoid and his behaviour grew erratic. Just when the band’s career was about to take off on an international scale in the late ‘60’s Jones was found dead in his swimming pool Was it an accident, or was he murdered?
The crux of this film from producer Stephen Woolley, making his directorial debut here, concentrates on the enigmatic relationship between the flawed Jones (Jon Gregory) and Frank Thorogood (Paddy Considine), a labourer working at his house. However, most of the main characters are underdeveloped and their motivations remain something of an enigma.
There are also a number of factual errors and historical inaccuracies throughout. Woolley uses lots of jump cuts early in the film, and plenty of hallucinogenic effects throughout to capture the mood of the swinging ‘60’s, but the overall effect is offputting. Also he uses pale covers of classic Stones songs instead of the superb original versions.
However, the central performances are quite solid. Stoned is ultimately a bit of a disappointment, even for non-Stone fans.