Keith Richards: Under the Influence full movie review - A documentary for musicians and music lovers about the musician Keith Richards - not the rock star
I discovered Keith Richards - the musician, not the rock star - somewhat late in life.
I'm a guitar player and I have a passion for blues, especially the raw, unpolished stuff recorded in the fifties and early sixties - but my love for this kind of unfiltered, emotional music only developed over time. As most young guitar players, I was originally far more interested in ultra-fast virtuosos and had little respect for guitarists who didn't engage in extended solos at 10 notes per second. Well, let's just say I'm glad I eventually broadened my horizon a little: because that's how I got into Keith's music.
This documentary will probably disappoint many, because it's all about the music of Keith Richards and the music that inspired - and still inspires - him (which is also what the title refers to). It's not a film about the Stones or drug abuse, orgies and groupies: it's about a man who loves his art and respects and admires his peers. We get to hang out with him as he introduces us to his musical influences and contemplates his musical journey, and we get to see him jam and hang out with friends like Buddy Guy, Waddy Wachtel or Tom Waits, people who all share his passion and treat him like a fellow musician - not like a rock star. I absolutely adored this documentary and I appreciated the fact that it's not about the legendary junkie, but about the gifted songwriter and guitar player who - together with his band - played a key role in making America aware of some of its greatest talents by playing their music: Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Little Walther, John Lee Hooker and many more.
This documentary is great stuff for blues aficionados and musicians; I give the film 9 stars out of 10, but I only recommend it to people who are less interested in Keith the rock star and more in Keith the musician. If you're among the latter, sit back and enjoy, because you're in for a treat. And Keith: stay well and keep rockin', you're the man.