Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Andre 3000 Hits Nail on the Head with Jimi Hendrix Portrayal

I was incredibly excited to see the new Hendrix biopic Jimi: All is By My Side despite the fact that I’ve never really been a huge Jimi Hendrix fan.  The film takes on the musicians early years, from being discovered by Keith Richards girlfriend in a club to signing on with his manager, ex- Animals bassist Chas Chandler.  Taking place entirely between being discovered and when he departs for the Monterey Pop Festival, the film offers an intimate look at the controversial artists early days as he navigates the music world, forms his backing band The Experience, and straddles the stresses of new fame, success, and love.  Many have called the film fictitious largely because of its portrayal of Hendrix’s relationship with girlfriend Kathy Etchingham.  The film often shows Hendrix taking a violent turn and even brutally beating Etchingham in a jealous rage.  Etchingham insists however that their relationship was wonderful and without such incidents.  While the movie lacked any actual Hendrix tunes because of issues with the estate, I felt it almost worked to the films benefit.  We get to view the myth that is Jimi Hendrix before he was anything besides a great guitar player.  His improvisational, bluesy guitar solos and intricate fret work take center stage as Outkast’s Andre 3000 captures the quiet, introverted man in his element long before “Purple Haze” graced the world’s collective eardrums.  Andre’s performance stands out as the brightest part of the film.  Many of the scenes attempt to encapsulate a feeling showing only Hendrix and his guitar alone in a room together as if there is nothing and no one else in the world.  We delve deep into his psyche as the viewer experiences the struggle felt by Jimi as he tries to maintain his opinions of the world and his music while attempting to break into the mainstream; all without sacrificing his creative license.  Showcasing many early live performances, including one attended by Paul McCartney and George Harrison right after the release of Sgt. Pepper in which Hendrix decides to take a risk and play the title track, not two days after the album dropped.  It’s moments like this that the film hits its stride and truly displays the charisma and genius of one of rock’s greatest artists.  History tells us the rest.

No comments:

Post a Comment