On July 2, 1969, Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool, apparently under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Just weeks before, he was kicked out of the band he founded, a little group called the Rolling Stones. Jones' story is classic rock and roll. He was the force behind the founding of the band, yet never got to see how far his vision was able to go. Instead, vices like drugs, booze, and women got in the way, cutting his life short. Stoned tracks the end of Jones' (Leo Gregory, Tristan + Isolde, Green Street Hooligans) life, and how it related to Frank Thorogood (Paddy Considine, Cinderella Man, My Summer of Love), the man in charge of Jones' landscaping.
Stoned is not really about Jones, and not really about Thorogood. This is one of its problems. Director Stephen Woolley meanders around the subject, telling things from a chronological perspective but never going into any depth. It feels like a superficial look at a death that tries to coast on the fact that the dead guy was a member of the Rolling Stones. At the same time, Stephen and screenwriters Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (Die Another Day, The World is Not Enough) keep the Stones as a peripheral presence. The worst offense is that Stoned does not have any original Stones music from that period in time (although that may be the fault of licensing and not the screenwriters).
The Stones road manager Tom Keylock (David Morrissey, Derailed, Captain Corelli's Mandolin) introduces Jones to Thorogood. Jones is distancing himself from the band. The Stones are getting ready to tour America, but Jones cannot go because of his criminal record. He holes himself in his new house, partaking in an orgy of drugs and alcohol. Jones also spends less and less time recording music in the studio. Thorogood quickly realizes that he has stepped into another world. Not only is he expected to remodel, but Jones expects him to cook and drive. Thorogood is okay, because Jones is his outlet into a world of rock and roll. He now has access to drugs, and hopefully access to beautiful women.
It's too bad the film devolves into one large rock and roll cliche. It doesn't matter that Jones was a founding member of the Stones. This movie is just about a rock star flaming out. He's vain, self-absorbed, and has a habit of changing his mind about asking Thorogood to redo things after the work is done. Jones plays mind games with Thorogood, who still hangs on even though the pay is uneven. The resentment that Thorogood feels begins to fester, and Jones' behavior becomes more erratic. And while Woolley does try to spice things up with psychedelic camera work and editing, Stoned feels surprisingly tame.
|Mongoose Rates It: Okay.|
|1 hour, 43 minutes, Not Rated, but contains language, drug use, nudity, and some sexuality, would be an R.|
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