Gimme Shelter

Film , Documentaries
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(2 user reviews)
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The Altamont movie, and something of a bummer: if you love the Stones, you're likely to be irritated by the fact that the camera stays on Mick Jagger for virtually every frame; if you're keen to understand why the notorious murder took place and what responsibility the musicians should admit to, you're left with a vacuous look of shock and confusion on the singer's face; and if you get off on violence accompanied by music played loud and raw, you'll love it. Still, it is a reminder that the '60s were not entirely about love, peace and limp liberalism.

Release details

Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin
Cast: The Rolling Stones
Ike and Tina Turner
Jefferson Airplane

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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This review is pointless boilerplate and unworthy of Timeout. Gimme Shelter shows how much more engaging, dramatic and resonant a documentary can be over a theatrical film. It’s brilliant in the way it records reality in fluid takes and then reassembles and presents them to the viewer for their own multilayered understanding. This is done without any of the hyper-editing that’s done today to generate as sense of participatory excitement in the viewer. The Stones didn’t need that kind of crutch. Their music and personas really capture the whole era without fakery. It’s a possible fault that Jagger is always front and center, but who surpasses his stage presence in the 20th century? Callas, Brando, Nijinsky… ? In that sense, the film shows why Jagger the Stones in their prime could draw huge ecstatic audiences. As a measured descend into unreason and darkness, the film is hard to surpass. Even the Stones at the height of their appeal were left neutralized and uncomprehending on the stage. It leaves a powerful impression.

Jon Long

Think that review is highly unfair - saw it last night and found it incredibly powerful, perhaps more so because there was no voice over commentary speculating on what happened. At Altamont you are treated to raw footage of the lead up to the change of venue, the arrival of the festival heads, what was going on in the crowd and finally the Stones' performance instead, filmed onstage with a clear view of the stabbing actually as it happensed. Made my blood run cold. If Altamont was the day the hippie dream died along with the guy who was stabbed, then it is pretty mindblowing to see it happen on film. The collage effect of the film also conveys a clear idea of what kind of people were involved in the setting up of the concert and attending it - from the greasy racetrack ovner seeking publicity to the terrifying Angels themselves marching across the srtage like Soviet border guards. The reviewer is right the Stones comments are vacuous - even Mick says "Rubbish" when watching his on his own filmed repllies to an interviewer. But it is the images themselves that speak volumes of a fascinating and truly freaky event...