Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen
Reviewed by Raoul Hernandez, Fri., Dec. 13, 2013
The Rolling Stones: Crossfire Hurricane(Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Springsteen & I(Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Jurassic rock, been there/done that, right? Not entirely. At this late date, to have both these "classic" acts produce essential documentaries on a pair of Blu-rays only reinforces their enduring relevance. Better still, parallel to the genre's existential yin/yang – Beatles vs. Stones – the contrast of white and black hats here glints sharply. Limping to their golden anniversary, England's Oldest Hitmakers called an unsteady truce in 2012-13 to tour briefly and even update Lorne Michaels' 1989 tour de force doc, 25x5, still the best tell-all on the band, and not on DVD. Director Brett Morgen's mixology skills in montaging together Crossfire Hurricane cranks out more than a few breathless peaks worthy of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in their loving prime. That's exclusively on display here, the four principals' voices ("no cameras were allowed") contextualizing the unlikely tale of a Beatles defector (Andrew Loog Oldham) employing the simple ploy of contrasting the Fab Four's wholesome image with a dangerous alternative and its yobbos coming to embody that all too literally. (Sex Pistols, cough.) At 70 minutes, they're still clearing bodies at Altamont, the Maysles' terrifying Gimme Shelter cut together with Robert Frank's uncensored Cocksucker Blues, and by the end, they've barely breached 1981 ("can't be young forever ..."), but Crossfire Hurricane kicks the dark art of "Jumpin' Jack Flash" to the curb for the soul-spearing blues of "Sympathy for the Devil." Springsteen's camp, meanwhile, opens its vaults and publishing to Baillie Walsh, who splices together fan submissions on why they worship Jersey's folk prophet into a virtual audio-visual bible. From a smoldering truck driver to some dude weeping in his SUV and the Elvis impersonator who hijacked the E Street Band, Springsteen & I captures its subject through a reflection of those who adore him most and best. The thank-yous alone will wring tears, and a bonus Chinese flip-book beats all.