Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense (1984)

Tremendously and successfully ambitious concert film that is fun and exciting for the duration of the running time. David Byrne received a credit for conceiving the staging of the concert, which is quite entertaining. As opposed to opening with a large number with the full band, he opens with only himself and a boombox, playing "Psycho Killer" with full impact sans the backup. From then on, as each song progresses, another member of the band appears onstage; it is a truly original presentation that keeps the momentum building for a good amount of the film. David Byrne's stage persona is wonderfully idiosyncratic, filled with twitches, quirks, and risks that play as simultaneously comic and appropriate to the music. The musical performances themselves are out of this world for Talking Heads fans; the rearrangements of many of the songs are far larger, and more fully realized than the original studio cuts. Jonathan Demme's direction is surprisingly low-key, providing long, unbroken takes of Byrne and the crew doing their thing instead of opting for then-chic MTV style cutting. Even though I adored most of the film, I did feel it was a little long; I would've cut one or two of the final numbers to ensure the Heads didn't outstay their welcome. But nonetheless, I was so entranced by the energy of the show that I watched the two deleted numbers on the Blu-Ray immediately after the film's conclusion.

Highly Recommended for fans of the Talking Heads, new wave, or well-made concert films. This is actually one awesome show that I don't regret not being able to have gone to; I feel like I got the idea, and it was great.

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