25 January, 2012

THE LOVE WE MAKE - Paul McCartney (2011)

There are many stories surrounding the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 that deserve to be told.  This is not one of them.

I’ll admit that I had written that line long before I put the disc in the player.  The blurbs and promotions give the distinct impression that this “chronicle of Paul McCartney’s cathartic journey through New York City in the aftermath of 9/11,” is a shameful attempt to use an atrocity as an ego trip.  Indeed, the promotional material stops just short of claiming that Paul McCartney came to heal America just as the Beatles had (apocryphally) helped America to get over the Kennedy assassination.

Fortunately, the film itself is nothing like what the descriptions suggest.  Shot in grainy black and white by Albert Maysles (of Gimme Shelter and early films of the Beatles in the U.S.), it’s a genuine fly-on-the-wall account of the lead up to the Concert for New York City on 20 October, 2001.  There is no commentary, either direct or implied and there are clearly no situations contrived for the benefit of the film.  The events that prompted the concert are only mentioned during snippets of conversations, although there is an interesting moment when McCartney ponders how an avowed pacifist should react to the attacks.

The film also isn’t cut to be too flattering to McCartney either.  Moments after gladhanding people on the street, he’s shown in the car saying, “Right, get me out of here.”  There are of course all the usual shots of fan mobbing and references to the Beatles, but it’s a refreshingly candid portrait of McCartney.

Things get interesting at the venue where we see Paul planning arrangements, instructing musicians and somewhat nervously presenting his idea for the new song, Freedom, and confessing to its corniness.  We also see how even some of the most famous people in America can be reduced to gibbering fanboys in the presence of The Beatle.  There are no complete musical performances.  That's fair enough since it's not what the film is about, but if that's what you were hoping for, you'll be disappointed.

Although The Love We Make is far better than expected, there is still much of it that is suspect – such as why Paul would hire a film crew to document his contribution to the concert, and why release it to coincide with the tenth anniversary of the attacks?  While the film is not quite as self-serving as I thought it might be, McCartney is not completely innocent of trying to make it all about him.

That would be forgivable if proceeds from this DVD went to the Robin Hood Relief Fund, as the proceeds from the concert and album did.  However, there is nothing to suggest that this is the case.  As such, The Love We Make is better than it looks, but approach with caution.

Feature:  * * ½
Extras:  None
Audio:  Dolby stereo, Dolby 5.1, DTS

1 comment:

  1. I've always forgiven his massive ego because unlike most people with massive egos he's got talent to back it up.