U2: Rattle and Hum Reviews
Rattle and Hum chronicles U2 during 1988 as they transition from their success of their epic masterpiece "Joshua Tree" to recording for the next album "Rattle and Hum", aptly named. It also captures a time when the band is on the backend of their transition from their homeland Ireland to their new home and inspiration for their new album, the United States.
The film is wonderfully shot with the majority being in stark black and white. Only during some moments does the viewer experience color photography, brought about by an abrupt transition from grayscale to full color. The cinematography during the interviews, recording sessions, and B roll is given the personal touch through mostly handheld footage while the concert footage implements all the big production toys like cranes, steady cams, and dollies. Each image, if seen on HD, is so sublime and vivid; at times it straddles the line between surrealism and veritas, Hollywood production and documentary.
There are many great moments in Rattle and Hum but two stand out to me as being completely jaw dropping. The first is when U2 records, practices, and eventually performs with B.B. King on the song "When Love Came to Town". King's personality is so endearing and subdued, contrasting vigorously with the intense yet always passionate Bono, yet when they perform they mold together seamlessly, creating a kaleidoscope of two different worlds reveling in the power of the blues. The second moment comes during one of the films final songs, "Sunday Bloody Sunday". Bono opens with a love letter to the Irish in America, followed by a somber first half of "Sunday Bloody Sunday". At midway point, the band erupts and Bono starts wailing even more and more. During an interlude, he starts to talk to the audience again, except this time he is enraged: "I am so sick of Irish Americans, who have never visited the homeland in 20 or so years, come up to me talk to me about the revolution". As he goes on, the emotion increases: "I say F*** the revolution... where's the glory in taking a man from his bed at night and shooting him in front of his wife and kids?" After the song is finished, Bono is on the floor, silent and spent.
Rattle and Hum is no pioneer in documentary filmmaking, but it doesn't matter. It's wonderfully shot and U2 is simply unstoppable. In short, it is a great find for any U2 fan and worth checking out for anyone else.
no doubt about it!
Irish rockers U2 jam with blues master blues master B.B. King in director Phil Joanou's documentary. The veteran music video director joined the band's U.S.Joshua Tree tour, filming the 1980s rock icons as they sang with a gospel choir, recorded at Sun Records and made a pilgrimage to Graceland. B.B. King performs on "Angel of Harlem" and "When Love Comes to Town," both included on U2's subsequent album "Rattle and Hum."
The film follows them from Scotland to their U.s Tour in 87. When going into a concert film you have to be asking yourself two questions. 1.Hows the music? and 2. How does it look?.
To answer the first question, the music is mostly recent U2 standard, and since this is a band that takes pride in the political content in their music it's a surprise that throughout the film about 80% of the lyrics are impossible to understand. The only way you understand what the words are if you know all the songs lyrics by heart. I think the audience does and you can tell cause they sing a long and there's no denigrating the power that U2 has over its fans.
Now onto the next question of how does it look?. The important thing is that almost all the concerts take place at night ande were very poorly lighted for movie-making purposes.
Compared to other movies about rock bands this film is a mess, but a fun mess. The colors are good-looking I will say but they never change and stay the same the whole film and doesn't change its look barely. The audience which is a big factor in all bands, was basically pushed out and the whole camera the whole time was focusing on U2 and forgetting about the audience.
However the one thing that really ticked me off was the band U2 themselves. You would think since they are one of the biggest bands in the world they would at least have something interesting to say, no, not at all. During the first 5 minutes U2 just sits there and they don't say a thing and they think this is being cute. There was no insight from this band except for a little mention of Elvis but even that wasn't interesting and just came off as way too random.
I did like the music and liked how it was filmed in black-and-white. I felt like I was there with the band in concert and a lot of the camera work is really extravagant of how they go from one member of the band to the other in such a fashion that isn't rushed but used to have a total concert experience.
Consensus: This film is not a documentary as much as it is a film on U2's concerts. It looks good and is rockin' but doesn't feature any insight from the band and completely forgetting the audience. Get the soundtrack not the movie.
Not that I mind.
For one, Gods know the boys aren't exactly hard on the eyes. The Edge (do his friends call him "The"?) is wearing a very cool hat through most of it. This is in Bono's long-haired days, and he had [i]very[/i] nice hair. You get a nice gospel choir in there, too, and they're always fun to watch.
But of course, we're all here for the songs. If we weren't, would we be watching a movie about a band's tour? We [i]want[/i] to hear Bono telling us he can't live with or without us. That was why we paid the price of admission. (Or, you know, checked it out from the library. But I was on a waiting list, man!) We get quite a lot of songs, too. 25, in fact, which is the more impressive given that the movie's just over an hour and a half long.
I've never had the opportunity to see U2 live. I'm poor, you know. Still, I've heard their live stuff many times, including a great sing-along cover of "One." They seem to be as good a concert band as they are a studio band, and that isn't always the case. Naturally, one expects that the footage and the album (of course there's a soundtrack album!) will be souped up to sound as good as possible. Still, they clearly have energy; that can't be faked in post production.
Every year, I half-expect to learn that Bono has won the Nobel Peace Prize. The day is certainly coming. But even when he does, I will still remember being youg, when this movie first came out. At the time, we all just thought it was silly. Now, nearly twenty years later, it seems a slice of a simpler time.
Oh, I know. It wasn't, really. Then, we had the Cold War. My Gods, Reagan was still in office. But in 1988, I had fewer problems. One of the things I like about Bono is that he genuinely seems to want all of us all over the world to have fewer problems again.