25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Preach it brother!,
This review is from: Criterion Collection: Gimme Shelter [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Gimme Shelter is an astonishing look at the dark side of the rock 'n'roll collective hallucination: Jagger thought he was lucifer, the fans thought he was lucifer ... and the Hell's Angels thought he was a loser.
The story is one of the best known examples of how not to organise a free concert.The Stones were at their musical peak: Mick Taylor was there to help Charlie keep it together, Keith had rarely looked so elegantly wasted and Jagger was Jack Flash in all his androgynous splendor.
Unfortunately it was decided that the Angels would make great security guards. Even more unfortunately they got to have as much alcohol as they could drink in return for herding hippies.
The Mayles cameras seem to have been omnipresent : in a situation where nobody could budge an inch they were absolutely everywhere. They got the endless to and fro with the Stones manager Grossman (?)trying to find a venue for the concert, the breath-taking build up with eye in the sky shots of thousands upon thousands of people honing in on the Altamont Speedway, the first signs that things were not going to go according to plan (what plan?)as musicians got attacked by Hell's Angels ("My God, they're attacking musicians? That doesn't seem right!") , the agonising slide into ugly anarchy, the irate fan (former fan ?) who punched Big J in the lip as he came out of his caravan to preen, the bad-tripping Angel/stage hand going down on bad acid and glaring at Jagger with contempt and fascination, the stray dog ambling across the stage totally unfazed by the greatest rock'n'roll band in the world, Jagger calling for calm as fighting breaks out yet again: "What are we fighting for ? You know if we really are all one, let's be all one!" ... to which an Angel snarls: "Yeah, preach it brother!", the attempted murder, the actual murder, the hysterical girl friend, the morning after ... and finally Jagger leaving the cutting room with a rather sheepish look on his face after watching the rough cut.
Despite my rather subjective review this is a marvellously objective documentary. I don't think you have to be a Stones fan like myself to be knocked out by the film-making prowess ... you might not come out of it liking Jagger so much but I'm sure he can take it!