“Stoned” recalls the life of Brian Jones from his forming of The Rolling Stones (With some rather shocking body doubles), his rivalry with his band mates, his weariness towards fame, and his inevitable downfall which led to his early death. “Stoned” is a typical, just passable enough, chronicle of yet another man’s downfall in the black hole that is fame through rock and roll, and the enabling of his friends and family.
Following dismissal from the band he co-founded, former Rolling Stone Brian Jones (Leo Gregory) hangs around his country estate in a drug-addled funk. The band’s manager (David Morrissey) hires Frank Thorogood (Paddy Considine) to fix up the decaying house and keep an eye on Jones, but a number of weeks later, Jones dies in a swimming pool under mysterious circumstances.
Leo Gregory, in a shaky but strong performance, is presented in many shades as a man who is depicted as a rather tortured, but utterly manipulative. Even before stardom. Paddy Considine (who can’t star in a film without stealing scenes away from everyone) co-stars as Frank Thorogood, the man who’d bring about Jones’ fate whether he knew it or not. Frank is a sketchy man from his introduction to Brian. Brian befriends him and enters in to a relationship based around sadomasochism, and homosexual overtones that begin a descent in to the inevitable death of Jones. That said Woolley’s direction attempts too often to be surreal for its own good most times.
“Stoned” also doesn’t entirely focus so much on the Stones’ musical creation, so much as it instead sensationalizes the private life of Jones. This will turn some off and even disappoint those that invest their time in “Stoned” to gain some keen insight in to their interplay. In Morrison’s poem “Ode to LA while thinking of Brian Jones, Deceased,” he wrote: “I hope you went out, Smiling Like a child, Into the cool remnant of a dream” which director Woolley wisely pays homage to in the film’s last scene. I’m not one who particularly likes music biopics, but “Stoned” enlists enough talent and garners enough gravitas and atmosphere to chug to the climax as a pretty okay bit of speculative crime fiction.