U2: Rattle and Hum - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

U2: Rattle and Hum Reviews

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½ March 23, 2011
It's quite funny that critics of the time said U2 were pretentious and too self-righteous here - if they'd seen how far Bono would eventually go they would have realised they were getting off lightly. Yes the band do come off a little too 'earnest' in this documentary, and their exploration of and homage to great American music of the past does kind of feel like they are shoe-horning themselves in as a continuation of that legacy, but to be fair on them, at the time they were actually the biggest band on the planet, they were just coming off the success of The Joshua Tree album which was an instant classic, and the music and live performances featured here are good. It should be remembered that this film was released when the likes of Stock Aitken and Waterman were ruling the UK music charts, so whatever they may have become now and whatever pretensions they may have had back then, U2 were still a breath of fresh air in what was a mediocre era for music.
Super Reviewer
February 19, 2011
I love U2.Since the 80´s till now they still original and good!This movie(made for theaters) was filmed by the great director Phil Joanou in part in glorious black and white, and in the end, some shots in colour, like a revelation.Not only a documentary of a tour, this movie takes a snapshot of th Joshua Tree era.I
September 27, 2010
A really tremendous "concert" film. It's a great time capsule of U2 in the late 1980s and is a great introduction (if you needed one) to the band. If you're already a fan then this is a treat from the first frame.
August 15, 2010
the stars/points are for the band.. the documentary film could've been done better that's why 4/5
July 2, 2010
Probably worshiped by U2 fans and shoulder shrugged by everyone else, I think you may have to at least somewhat like U2 in order to enjoy this. Heck, I do, but even I found this boring, ponderous and pretentious at times (Move that spotlight over closer to me Bono, thanks). Half concert film (the 2nd half) and half documentary, I found the doc portion much more interesting then the concert footage, which featured a lot of Phil Joanou saying "Look what I can do!" Plus, Bono rants about politics a lot in this, yes, during the middle of the concert. U2 has gotten a little bit wiser (actually, the band's own admission) since this period of fumbling of which way to take the band after the enourmous success of The Joshua Tree, (eg, Bono with a guitar) and this can be viewed as such.
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2010
This is fabulous. Beautifully recorded. With or Without You and it's subtle amazing colors brings me to my knees every single time without fail. I love their commentary, love the renditions. I watch this on my iPod before bed quite often. Never fails to make me happy.
June 15, 2010
I am huge U2 fan...and as movie this isn't great...it's really just a music journey/doco, but a good one at that.

It captures an interesting time in the bands career, the turbulent success of the Joshua Tree album and growing of themselves to get to what becomes the Rattle and Hum album.

This presents some key parts of the carrer and some fantastic live performances but I doubt people who aren't into U2 would get alot out of it...
June 6, 2010
U2 are the ultimate marmite musicians. If you love 'em, you really love 'em, and vice versa. For me, some of their tracks are very good, but sometimes the 30-year-long collection of plaudits they've received can be very annoying. I mean come on, give someone else some credit! But this is an OK documentary/concert movie, charting U2's blues-rock phase, and particularly interesting considering this was only three years before they entered their euro-dance influenced midlife crisis phase with Achtung Baby.
½ June 2, 2010
Like em or hate em, U2 have truly stood the test of time. Rattle and Hum is a fascinating look and journey on their US Joshua Tree tour in the late 80's. With some brilliant memorable scenes as they make a pilgrimage to Graceland sing with a gospel choir play with a blues icon B.B. King and play inside Sun records legendary starting place for Elvis Presley. This film captures the true evolution of U2 developing into the greatest rock band of the last 30 years. Highlight songs: When love comes to town and Bad.
½ May 31, 2010
I was sitting in my empty living room late one night after all my family had gone to sleep and I stumbled across this little gem. This beautifully heartfelt and executed depiction of the greatest band in the world lifted my spirits that night and put me in a U2 inflicted coma, and I am just now coming out of it.

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.
½ May 21, 2010
Tough I'm not a U2 fan, I enjoy the music in this movie. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is my favorite. The Black and White cinematographer is very well done.
½ April 28, 2010
Rattle & Hum is not just a concert documentary, it's an eloquent cry for change. Filmed mostly in black and white during their 1987 "Joshua Tree" tour, it chronicles the band at the end of the 80s, just before their foray into electronic music and the irony of ZooTV. Filled with emotional performances and containing a duet with blues legend B.B. King, this film captures U2 at the tail of their 80s era and at the cusp of a new beginning. Non-fans will probably yawn at this, but music lovers and U2 fans alike will be highly entertained.
April 15, 2010
a great documentary on a great band!
no doubt about it!
April 8, 2010
im not a u2 fan but so-so influenced
½ April 2, 2010
A rockin' great movie, boy do they look young !
½ March 21, 2010
In The Name Of Love . . . .
March 19, 2010
Wow, it is hard to believe that it has been 22 years since Rattle And Hum came out, I was a big U2 fan back then, but I never fully got to see this, until now, and I have to say, for a concert behind the scenes kind of movie, it is incredibly well done. The filming of U2 when they were in some of their best years, packing concerts and domes, yet still taking time to go to a small church in harlem to record with a gospel choir, which sounded awesome. Overall this is a great inside view into a band that was really developing and rounding out their sound. I will admit, I am not a fan of any of the new U2 stuff, not since Actung Baby, but for this period of the bands carreer, I still love them to this day, and Rattle and Hum just makes me want to revisit all those old albums and drive with the window down singing at the top of your lungs, and for that, it gets 5 stars.
December 28, 2009
One of the most amazing soundtracks in history, no doubt.
December 23, 2009
Up close and personal with the greatest rock band in the world. To hear them speak about what Sunday Bloody Sunday means to them is amazing. BB King telling Bono that he writes deep stuff for a kid. To see what they do behind the stage when they walk off stage before the encore is awesome. I've seen U2 in concert in Sept. 09 in Chicago and this film, in fact no film can do there shows justice. It is a religious experience to have 61,500 people singing Where The Streets Have No Name. In fact hearing the opening guitar thrashing through the speakers is enough to make a grown man cry. This movie is the closest depiction to the music they make. They didn't talk about their private lives, about girlfriends, they talked about inspirations like Larry Mullen Jr.'s love of Elvis. Visiting Graceland, the best interview moment is when Larry Mullen Jr. is sitting in his kitchen trying not to cry thinking about Elvis's eternal flame. Fading from Black-N-White to Color when they enter the desert, Sun Devil Stadium.
Loved It.
December 20, 2009
Best black and white movie of my generation. Excellent sound track. A cinematic wonder.
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