Berlin

Critics Consensus

Julian Schnabel expertly captures the dark melancholy of Lou Reed's misunderstood concept album in this moving concert documentary.

78%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 32

85%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 580
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Movie Info

In 1973, Lou Reed's album "Berlin" meets with hostile fans and critics, evidently because its precursor, "Transformer," was an upbeat, glam-rock hit. Despite the album's gradual critical acclaim, Reed never performs it live. This changes for five nights in Brooklyn, N.Y., as Reed performs the melancholy album in its entirety. The rock 'n' roll legend resurrects his doomed work, performing in front of projected images depicting scenes from the star-crossed romance the album narrates.

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News & Interviews for Lou Reed's Berlin

Critic Reviews for Lou Reed's Berlin

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (25) | Rotten (7)

  • Those who admire Reed will find that Schnabel's film allows the music to speak for itself against its rather messy background.

    July 25, 2008 | Rating: 3/5
  • It's Reed's gruff and tuneless delivery that challenges one's enjoyment.

    July 25, 2008 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • For devotees only, I'm guessing.

    July 25, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Reed's unmistakable lilting groan has real pain in it, hinting at a real but undisclosed personal story behind the music.

    July 25, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Reed's dour, bombastic song-suite about the lives of the drug-addicted and downtrodden steadily acquired cult cachet over the decades, peaking with its staging as a complete-album concert in 2006, which Lou Reed's Berlin documents.

    July 18, 2008 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Who could have guessed that nearly 35 years after its release, Lou Reed's once-reviled concept album Berlin would inspire a sold-out concert, shot with loving awe by Julian Schnabel?

    July 18, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Lou Reed's Berlin

  • Nov 15, 2010
    Lou Reed performs his best album with the aid of the brilliant filmmaker Julian Schnabel in possibly the greatest concert ever captured on film. A beautiful vision of one of the most depressing albums ever recorded.
    Jonny B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2009
    "Lou Reed's Berlin" is a concert performance by Lou Reed and lots of friends of his critically panned 1973 album at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn. The concert is enhanced by footage(featuring Emmanuelle Seigner) to tell the narrative of the concept album but director Julian Schnabel only goes halfway. A truly immersive multimedia experience would have been the way to go, for a lot of the images are projected onto the back wall behind Lou Reed which was never intended for that. In fact, the final songs work best with no projections or any other distractions. As with any concert film, simple is best and while the lack of audience reaction shots is refreshing, the camera technique is not the best. And while I usually do not recommend this, some interview footage would have gone a long way towards explaining the album's history. As it is, Julian Schnabel's perfunctory introduction provides only scant information. By the way, I am not particularly a fan of Lou Reed but went into this with an open mind. So, that probably explains why I have had the Aimee Mann song "Goodbye Caroline" playing in my head all day.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 10, 2008
    this film brings out the best and most powerful moments of Reed's "Berlin" album. occasionally, some of the guitar work by Steve Hunter veers towards the wanky side of things, but never goes completely overboard in that regard.
    chase _ Super Reviewer
  • Mar 20, 2008
    Schnabel's indulgent and artsy flourishes distract from the potent enough power of Reed's music.
    William G Super Reviewer

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