Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Quiet One (2019) Tribeca 2019

After the screening of the Bill Wyman documentary The Quiet One there was some grumbling that the film focused so much on the Rolling Stones that the film is a defacto Stones doc. While that is partly true, I think it’s missing two points, first most of Wyman’s life was with the Stones and second, outside of that period his life wasn’t really “exciting”. On the other hand it is a glorious portrait of a man most people know nothing about.

Composed of photos, audio and video recording and film that Wyman collected over the years it is a look at the man as only a person who collected everything could. Aided by a clear head that was never clouded by drugs and alcohol (Keith Richards is seen in the film saying if he wants to know about certain portions of his life he has to ask Bill) the film is one man looking back at his life and taking stock or where he was and what he did. It is not all inclusive, he did too much for that, but it gives a lovely sense of the man and his music. The film covers his whole life from his rough childhood to the army where he discovered rock and roll and took up the guitar, to his time in bands and of course the Stones.

Those expecting a film that is all about the Rolling Stones are going to be disappointed. Yes they are ever present, but at the same time this is a Wyman doc so we focused on what he saw and did. We gets bits on his first marriage and older son. We listen to him talk about who his friendship with James Baldwin opened up his heart to Ray Charles. There are glorious minutes where we listen to the awe in his voice when he gets to meet great men such as Marc Chagall and his hero Ray Charles (I dare you not to get weepy as he told that Charles wanted to not only meet him but play with him). This is the full measure of the man not just one 30 year period and we are better for it.

In a way this is as laid back and mellow as Wyman seems to be in real life. This is not life with Mick and Keith jetting across the globe, but more quiet time in the pub with a really cool guy. I was so impressed that when the press screening I ran into the PR person handling the film and said “I’m not a Stones fan but I loved the film and I would love to talk to him” I have no idea if I will meet Mr Wyman, but having seen this glorious film about him I really would like to.

If that isn’t a rave I don’t know what is.

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