Stoned | The Wild and Wycked World of Brian Jones
This was the official website for the 2005 film about Brian Jones called Stoned, also known as The Wild and Wycked World of Brian Jones in the UK.
Content is from the site's archived pages as well as from other resources.
Brian Jones was more than just "a Rolling Stone," he was their founding member, in 1962. His blonde hair, ambiguous glamour and obvious talent inspired enormous curiosity, making him the face of the Sixties revolution. In "Stoned," Stephen Woolley charts the rise of the precocious Cheltenham teenager to fame and fulfilment, and then re-creates the nightmare of his chaotic plummet to a mysterious death, drowned in the swimming pool of his secluded country estate.
The film is a cinematic work of historical fiction, taking as its premise the idea that Jones was murdered by Frank Thorogood, a builder who had been hired to renovate and improve Jones's house Cotchford Farm in East Sussex. The film also paints a picture of Jones's use of alcohol and drugs, and his relationships with Anita Pallenberg and Anna Wohlin.
This is the tale of debauched 1960s rock icon, Brian Jones, the charismatic guitarist who co-founded the Rolling Stones but was fired in 1969. A few weeks later he was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool.
Rating: R (for drug use, sexuality, nudity and language)
Directed By: Stephen Woolley
Written By: Neal Purvis, Robert Wade
In Theaters: Oct 18, 2005 wide
On Disc/Streaming: Jul 4, 2006
Runtime: 97 minutes
Studio: Screen Media Films
Brian Jones was the consummate artist, pop star, fashion icon & womanizer. During the seven short years of his glittering rise to stardom and fateful plummet between 1962 - 1969 he became a music legend, creating The Rolling Stones one of the greatest rock and roll bands ever. Having reinvented the Blues, he nonchalantly turned his back on the world of pop and found more pleasure in scoring movies and recording ethnic music in Morocco. This is not a film about one of The Rolling Stones - this is a murder mystery about the death of one of the most talented musicians of the 60's who couldn't or wouldn't write pop songs. Brian Jones was more than just "a Rolling Stone". He was their founding member in 1962. Jones (played by Leo Gregory) was their leader, their visionary, their most gifted musician His blond, ambiguous glamour and obvious talent inspired enormous curiosity.
Brian was the face of the Sixties revolution, resplendent in the sumptuous fabrics and furs, scarves, hats and jewelry with which he fearlessly blurred the distinction between male and female acceptability. A true pied piper of fashion, he daringly led and legions followed. Just a few years later, at the age of 27, Jones was dead in the deep end of his own swimming pool. Officially, he drowned by misadventure under the influence of drink and drugs. Director and Producer Stephen Woolley has spent the last 10 years researching the events surrounding Brian's ill-fated dip on the night of Wednesday July 2, 1969. In "Stoned," Woolley charts the rise of the intelligent Cheltenham teenager who excels in music and girls as wholeheartedly as he resists the disciplines of his grammar school. Moving to London at 19, Jones finds fame and fulfillment as he steers The Rolling Stones to their first great musical successes, but it's a short-lived happiness.
Re-creating the nightmare as it plummets out of control, with the fragile but tempestuous and increasingly unpredictable Jones hounded by the authorities, busted for drugs, embroiled in controversies and indiscriminate sexual encounters, passionately, bizarrely and sometimes violently besotted with his great love Anita Pallenberg (Monet Mazur), who abandons him for Keith (Ben Whishaw), and finally fired by the band he had formed and obsessively nurtured to their coming of age. His final days are played out at Cotchford Farm, Jones' East Sussex country retreat and the former home of Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne, who Brian Jones revered. He shared his idyll with latest flame, Anna Wohlin (Tuva Novotny). Still closely monitored by the Stones' organization, who regarded him as a loose cannon, Brian decides to make some home improvements and on the advice of his road manager Tom Keylock (David Morrissey), he hires Frank Thorogood (Paddy Considine), to carry out the work.
Stoned': From the Pool of Sex, Drugs & Rock-and-Roll
By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 7, 2006
Its title may ring with pun and promise, but "Stoned" is a flat riff on the short life of Brian Jones, the Rolling Stone who died in his swimming pool on July 3, 1969.
Based on three books about Jones's life (and the supposed 1993 deathbed confession of a household workman), the movie fails to evoke his tragic and colorful history. You'll get the highlights of Jones's life but no sense of what made him special -- or what really haunted him.
For debuting director Stephen Woolley, a longtime producer for Neil Jordan, this is a grand opportunity missed. In his heyday, Jones, of course, was the Stone to Watch, the Carnaby Street mod who kissed the girls and made them pregnant. A brilliant musician who played piano, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, even the dulcimer, he put the bluesy scratch and otherworldly mojo into Stones tunes. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, in the beginning at least, had to share in the limelight.
The sitar in "Paint It Black"? The cuckoolike recorder in "Ruby Tuesday"? All Brian Jones. But for all his brilliance, he was a screw-up -- and drugged up. He passed out at studio sessions, when he showed up at all. He was forbidden to tour the United States because of his drug arrests. He was AWOL, literally and figuratively. It was just a matter of time before they found him floating. He was 27.
Unfortunately, the deepest insight offered by "Stoned" is that Jones (played by Leo Gregory) made a terrible boss. The story centers on Frank Thorogood (Paddy Considine), a building contractor, who's intrigued to be hired by the flamboyant pop icon. Brian lives in a state of constant bacchanalia in his Sussex farmhouse -- once owned by "Winnie the Pooh" author A.A. Milne. Blondes come and go. Grass, cocaine and booze are freely available. And Brian, who welcomes Frank with childlike joy, seems to want to be his friend.
The job description, Frank rapidly discovers, involves more than building garden walls. He finds himself cooking for Brian, driving him to London to pick up girls, and keeping him company when the women are gone. It's fun for a time, but it becomes increasingly edgy. On one occasion, Brian -- always one for mind games -- offers Frank sex with one of his girlfriends if the builder performs 100 push-ups. He orders Frank's crew to dismantle and move a wall they've just built, then tells them to put it back in the original spot. As Brian's relationship with his band deteriorates, so does the bond between him and Frank.
Scripted by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade (whose résumés include three James Bond films), the film succumbs all too often to cliche: the drug-woozy sequences of hedonistic romps in bed and LSD tabs on yanked-out tongues (cue Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit"). What these scenes tell us about Jones, other than the external lore of his life, is anyone's guess. If this was all there was to him, why are we watching this?
The movie is no more enlightening about the relationships in Jones's life. His girlfriend Anita Pallenberg (Monet Mazur), who befriends him at a Munich concert in the early 1960s, follows him to Sussex and Marrakech, and plays bondage games upstairs, is supposed to be a significant figure. But we never understand what draws them together. We know what pulls them apart, though. (He starts to hit her a little harder and she doesn't like that -- there's your character growth.) His romance, if that's what you call it, with Anna Wohlin (whose book "The Murder of Brian Jones" is another sourcebook) is even less revelatory.
As for Mick and Keith, they're relegated to the periphery. Played by Luke de Woolfson (Jagger) and Ben Whishaw (Richards), they're reduced to background roles. We see them cooling heels while Brian makes a phone call. There they are again, sitting in a cloud of hookah smoke in Morocco. Occasionally, they speak! Watching this movie, you could be forgiven for thinking they were just the roadies.
Woolley has said in interviews he wanted to make a Brian Jones film, so he did not seek participation or cooperation from the Rolling Stones. Nor, he said, did he license their 1960s-era songs -- for which Jones wasn't credited -- so the few Stones tunes on the soundtrack were recorded by other artists.
British actor Gregory certainly looks the part -- and vamps it up with aplomb. But the screenplay never allows him to be more than one-dimensional. (There's got to be a part for him in the next Austin Powers flick.) Considine, who has shown such versatility in films including "In America," "My Summer of Love" and "Cinderella Man," finds new chords again. As Frank, he's a convincingly tormented outsider, who evolves from enchantment to gloomy disillusionment. But as the only believable person (with the exception of David Morrissey, as Brian's cocky driver and troubleshooter) he's faced with a peculiar conundrum: Among these Rolling Stones, what's the point of gathering moss?
Stoned (103 minutes, at Landmark's E Street Cinema) is not rated; it contains nudity, drug use and profanity.