Lou Reed's Berlin (2008) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lou Reed's Berlin (2008)

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

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Movie Info

Lou Reed recorded the album Berlin in 1973. It was a commercial failure. Over the next 33 years, he never performed the album live. For five nights in December 2006 at St. Ann's Warehouse Brooklyn, Lou Reed performed his masterwork about love's dark sisters: jealousy, rage and loss.

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Critic Reviews for Lou Reed's Berlin

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (11)

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…

Your enjoyment will hinge entirely on whether you think the album is a masterpiece or a bore.

July 18, 2008 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

For die-hard Reed fans, it's an invaluable document.

July 18, 2008 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

In Julian Schnabel's grimly majestic concert film Lou Reed's Berlin, Mr. Reed wears the deadpan smirk of a Zen master who has endured punishing Buddhist training.

July 18, 2008 | Rating: 4/5

For Reed fans -- for rock fans -- the movie is an essential document of a noteworthy event.

July 17, 2008 | Rating: B+
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Lou Reed's Berlin

"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.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

½

Schnabel's indulgent and artsy flourishes distract from the potent enough power of Reed's music.

William Goss
William Goss

Super Reviewer

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