Directed by Stephen Woolley, starring Leo Gregory, Paddy Considine, David Morrissey, Tuva Novotny and Monet Masur.
A producer for over 20 years, whose films include 'Intermission' and Neil Jordan's 'The Butcher Boy', 'Michael Collins' and upcoming 'Breakfast on Pluto', 'Stoned' marks the directorial debut of Stephen Woolley. Having bought the rights to two books about the controversial death of Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones, Woolley has described the process of bringing the story to the screen as a 12-year odyssey. Given the length of time involved, it's a disappointment that 'Stoned' feels so rushed and bitty.
With Leo Gregory cast as Jones, 'Stoned' chronicles the last months of the guitarist's life, in between flashing back to different parts of his past. Hiding away in a country house, Jones is joined by exotic girlfriend Anna Wohlin (Novotny) and Frank Thorogood (Considine), a soldier-turned-builder who's been hired by the Stones' tour manager (Morrissey) to work on the house. Drugged up and over-sexed, Jones at once seems both an innocent and a manipulator, helpless when it comes to daily life but getting a thrill out of messing with Thorogood's head. Both in thrall to and contemptuous of Jones, Thorogood gets increasingly sucked into the druggy, lecherous world and loses his grip on the situation and himself.
Woolley's film deftly captures the era it's depicting, but 'Stoned's failings are numerous. The script never manages to forge an emotional attachment between Jones and the viewer, while Gregory lacks the presence to carry the film. With a running time of a little over 95 minutes, Woolley tries to cram too much in, resulting in a film that feels like scenes on a conveyor belt. As a central character Jones is not likeable, compelling or deserving of sympathy, so that the longer the film goes on, the less you feel you know him - or care.
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