We went to see the new Martin Scorsese's documentary "George Harrison - Living in the Material world". George Harrison is also known as "The quiet Beatle".
I might as well say right away that I'm not a Beatles fan. I don't know the story about the Beatles. I know that John Lennon got shot, and that Paul McCartney has a little "Sir" in front of his first name. That's about how much I know. I am only telling you this because people who know the story better or who are fans, might get more out of the documentary than I did. I know my Dad was a Rolling Stones fan, not a Beatles fan - that's kinda how it is.
Anyway : The documentary tells the story about George Harrison from when he entered the Beatles in 1962 until his death in 2001. It's told by means of interviews with old friends and archive material.
First problem with it was that Scorsese takes it for granted that everybody knows who was related to the Beatles, and how. There were interviews with people who's identity I still haven't got the faintest idea about. Scorsese didn't even bother putting a little name tag on each of them when we saw them first. This bothered me because it's very hard to get the speaker's comments into context if you don't know who's actually talking - school friend, brother-in-law, fellow musician - it can make quite a difference to the intended meaning of the words.
Next big problem is that it was assumed you knew the story, and so timelines seemed to be simply ignored. There wasn't a good flow in this - no narrator could have made an interesting journey out of these bits and pieces, they weren't cohesively put together. It just seemed like it was bits of stuff, footage and interviews, stuck together in an order only the director understood. Perhaps lots of fans *did* understand it and perhaps it *did* flow for them, but it didn't work for me - and believe me I tried to stay up with the play, even asking Flarin "who's that" on a number of occasions, until he started his own little narration for me ("guy on the left - Jimi Hendrix...guy in the middle - Brian Epstein...guy on the right - George"). Unfortunately of course, I had no idea who Brian Epstein was. And there were interviews with people talking about 'Stuart' and 'Pete'. Who? There was no explanation for those of us with no intimate knowledge of the subject.
Last but not least, there's the length of the documentary. We sat in that fucking cinema for more than four (Read my Lips: FOUR!!) hours! Admittedly, there was a half hour break in the middle, but still, three and a half hours is too fucking long. I am proud of myself to have survived that and not leave in the break!!
The second half was better than the first one, but still not good enough to really catch my interest. I did come out of it liking Ringo Starr - he's quite an amusingly cool old dude and obviously doesn't take himself too seriously, and I don't like Paul McCartney much. It is weird to think though that The Beatles were such a huge phenomena, such huge cultural icons that there is still really only 'John, Paul, George and Ringo' in people's minds, even though there's only been 2 left for the last 10 years, and there were only 3 since 1980.
I think this might have been a bit of a wasted opportunity, this film - it was in the end *just* a very long and tiring documentary about an obviously well liked musician. For some reason I was expecting more.
out of 6.