Jimi: All Is By My Side (2013) Directed by John Ridley
This was a romantic movie choice believe it or not, me and Astrid celebrating our wedding anniversary. But there was nothing on (and we hadn't booked in advance), so we decided to sit through John Ridley's Jimi Hendrix picture. Jimi: All Is By My Side is seriously handicapped by not being given permission by the Hendrix estate to use the real Jimi's music. I got the feeling watching this that if they had ignored the music altogether, this could have been a much better film. Sadly Ridley and co. decided some modern sounding, re-enactment of Hendrix music would suffice for what we should be hearing. What this means in reality are scenes where the drums sound like they're from the 1990's, combined with a 'clean' Fender Strat/Marshall Amp sound, which in this movie sounds more like a pub-rock version of Eric Clapton. Of course, if they were going to bother, this should have sounded like the biggest, dirtiest, most explosive sound ever made by the artist that would put the electric guitar in the forefront of that blossoming genre known as rock music. Trying to create some musical content for Jimi... resulted in the film makers missing the point as to why Hendrix was so important and exciting in the first place. It's telling when a Hendrix picture's first two recorded tracks are from Bob Dylan. Somehow, Jimi: All Is By My Side never recovers.
|Andre as Jimi|
So at least we both remembered that it was our second wedding anniversary – still, quite typically for us, no planning went into our day of celebration (except for the baby-sitting part). There we were on a weekend when Rakkautta & Anarkiaa -festival had taken over Helsinki, looking for a movie to see in the middle of the day. Almost anything would have to work. Let it be known that I was looking for an anniversary-appropriate romantic film. What we got instead was Jimi: All Is By My Side. I was curious. Movies about rock stars can be interesting and entertaining, even if they fail to be impressive as cinema.
|Hendrix and his cool jacket in Woodstock|
Jimi: All Is By My Side offers us a lethargic, speechless, violent, bored and unintelligent Hendrix played by Andre Benjamin. The actor comes across sympathetic and visually pleasing. The problems of the film are not his. Unfortunately, we get more out of the women in this film, which might be nice if it was a movie about groupies or the influence of women in Jimi's rise to stardom. Somehow, it is not though. The worst and absolutely regrettable part of it is that the movie makers were not allowed to use real Jimi Hendrix music in it. I cannot understand why there are still music scenes in the movie, because the music we hear is very misleading and bad – it's nothing like Jimi Hendrix. It feels like somewhere in the process of making this movie, some wrong corners were turned and instead of changing direction, the film just sailed right into an iceberg and sank wilfully. Maybe, if I was 20 years younger I would see the whole thing differently.