"More 'on the surface' than 'inside out,' but the fans will dig it."
SCREENED AT THE 2006 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Concert films and rock-docs are a tough lot to review. Just last week I gave a Beastie Boys concert flick my strongest recommendation, because I am a longtime fan of the band and I felt that their movie gave me a real cinematic treat. So while I'm as much a "casual fan" of The Police as the next thirty-something-er, I'd be lying if I claimed that "Everyone Stares" is any sort of definitive look at this deservedly popular band.Throughout the late 1970s and early/mid '80s, The Police were as big as any band out there. Their tunes were heard in heavy FM rotation, as part of numerous teen flicks, and (if I remember correctly) even as part of a pre-feature "mini-concert" that played prior to AMC movie screening. (I've long since lost count of how many times I saw/heard that "Synchronicity II" music video.)
But somewhere along the way, lead singer and songwriter Sting decided to leave the band and strike out on a solo career. (A solo career that's been pretty spectacular, even if the guy's first two solo albums were his very best ... by far.)
So now it comes time for retrospection, and it comes in the form of Everyone Stares: The Police Inside Out, a documentary that should absolutely count as a "must see" for the devoted fans of The Police-men, but also could have been a whole lot more engaging if just a little extra effort had been poured into it.
It seems like Police drummer Stewart Copeland (who has since gone on to become quite the accomplished film composer) simply came across a dusty box in his attic filled with myriad reels of old home movie footage, so he decided to splice it all together in chronological order before recording a rather dry and simplistic narration track to lay on top.
So while this 20-year-old look "behind the scenes" at the band's growth and burgeoning popularity would have been very welcome in a more expansive documentary, here it's not only the main feature; it's the only feature.
Where are the present-day interview segments and a handful of well-polished pieces of concert footage? Where is the input from rock critics, old promoters, and longtime fans? Annoyingly absent is where, which only adds to the "rush-job" feel of Mr. Copeland's directorial debut.I'll say it again: If you're an old-school Police fan, then there's certainly enough here to warrant your 80 minutes of attention, but I suspect it's those same hardcore fans who might walk away from "Everyone Stares" wishing the flick had a whole lot more meat on its bones.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Sundance Film Festival For more in the 2006 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2006 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2006 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.