Long since written off as "death by misadventure," the soggy demise of Rolling Stones founding member Brian Jones was in fact a considerably more sinister affair. At least that's what Stoned
would have us believe. Director Stephen Woolley's 2005 film begins with the discovery of Jones' body at the bottom of his swimming pool in the summer of 1969, and while it jumps all over the place chronologically, it always comes back to the events leading up to that July night. As portrayed by Leo Gregory, the Jones we see in his final days is a drink-and drug-ridden wreck, utterly debauched, at once a misogynist who beats his girlfriend and a helpless child who can't bear to be alone. His contribution to the Stones now virtually nil, he barely notices when his bandmates show up to kick him out (the official line was that he quit). Enter Frank Thorogood (Paddy Considine), a local builder hired to fix up Jones' country manor (once owned by Winnie the Pooh
creator A. A. Milne). Dour and dull, Frank is the perfect target for Jones' sardonic taunts ("You're fun to wind up," says Brian), and the movie posits the theory, supposedly supported by Thorogood's deathbed confession, that it all became too much for this simple country lad to take. Whether any or all of this is true seems almost inconsequential; many viewers won't even remember who Brian Jones was, and many others won't care. This unrated version is filled with sex and nudity (we see a good deal more of Jones', uh, tool than his guitar), and Woolley's style is hip and kinetic, as if he were trying to capture the swirling excitement of '60s England. Stoned
is a bit muddled, sometimes cliched and often rather ridiculous (Jones in heaven, discussing his legacy? Hey, whatever), and it contains not a note of actual Rolling Stones
music. But in a lurid kind of way, it's undeniably entertaining. --Sam Graham, Amazon.com
Producer Stephen Woolley's directorial debut is based on Terry Rawlings' notorious book about the death of Brian Jones, who was considered more than just a 'Rolling Stone', he was their founder member, their leader, their visionary and their most gifted musician. The face of the sixties revolution, his blonde ambiguous style and considerable talent inspired enormous curiosity. Woolley spent ten years researching events surrounding Jones's suspicious death, and this film charts the rise and eventual fall of one of Britain's original rock stars.