Lou Reed's Berlin (12A)
Sunday 27 July 2008
After the iconic turkey necks on display in Scorsese's recent Rolling Stones concert movie, Shine a Light, comes Lou Reed's Berlin, a glance at another rock legend with no call to retire. It's a more modest enterprise, intimate even, and much more rewarding.
When it was released in 1973, Berlin was condemned as one of the most depressing records ever made. It is, in fact, an extraordinary concept album, Reed cleverly clothing his chronicle of a junkie's dismal decline with frequently gorgeous melody. Julian Schnabel has shot the New Yorker's first performance of the songs since they were recorded, the show featuring a seven-piece orchestra, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, and some neat set design by Schnabel himself. Reed has lost none of his brooding presence, the songs none of their power and beauty.
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