Everyone Stares

Thursday, January 26, 2006

First comments on the film

I saw the film at what I think was the third of three screenings at the Sundance Film Festival Tuesday night. I had modest expectations -- that were exceeded. The film's clearly not a glossy documentary, but it's certainly a cut above watching someone else's home movies. Copeland did a fine job of making the viewer feel included in the inner circle and created a fascinating document of a band's rise in popularity.

Everyone Stares is surprisingly poignant: you see the early cameraderie and friendship strain under the pressures of success and increased commercial expectations. Some reviewers have commented negatively on the story stopping before Synchronicity. I, on the other hand, think the core pieces of the story were told without embracing the final album (which, I'll add, is my least favorite of the five).

The soundtrack was inventive and enjoyable: Copeland deconstructed and remixed Police tracks, providing dubbed-out, looped versions that I really enjoyed both as film music and on its own.

From a music archivist point of view, it's unique and fascinating how Copeland managed to document as much as he did. Unlike a contrived "making of" video, this footage feels intimate and natural.

I'll add more comments soon. In the meantime, here's how I'd sum this up: if you're predisposed to like The Police in the first place, you'll likely enjoy this movie. If not, well, there are other documentaries that probably relate to things you're interested in.


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