The Beatles: Get Back (2021) 8/10
Things I googled whilst watching Peter Jackson’s stupidly long Beatles documentary. What happened to Ringo’s eyebrows? Was shampoo worse in the 60s? George Harrison’s slippers. I know this might be controversial, but I don’t think Peter Jackson has done a good job with The Beatles Get Back. He’s a track record of not being decisive enough and he’s done it again here. Either cut a proper tight feature length film or give us all 60-odd hours. What we’ve got here is neither, just a half way house that’s not satisfying either need. Granted there’s a lot here, we’d be looking at a long feature, there’s loads of great material, not least the near perfect final hour on the roof, but there’s plenty of fluff too that neither serves the music or the story. I can only assume the other 50-odd hours was more fluff, set-up and perhaps arguments. Surely there’s some more good stuff too though, so why cut that and not the obvious surplus here? Maybe it’s an occupational hazard that as an editor I’m often looking for the tightest cut, but I’m more than happy to wax lyrical about a lengthy Tarkovsky tracking shot too. I don’t mind a challenging duration if it’s just that, but this isn’t challenging in a thought provoking way. I think Jackson repeatedly drops the ball and has let it roll away here. I can’t imagine this feeling like anything other than an endurance test for anyone but the musically obsessed or more ardent Beatles fan. I mean it’s still great and we’d miss some of what could be cut, but I could live without seeing sets for other productions roll through shot or Yoko One wailing or any of Octopuses bloody Garden. It’s fascinating to watch these four so candidly though. Stumbling their way to greatness. It both humanises them whilst elevating them higher. This is The Beatles triumph though, not Jackson’s. Sorry Peter. I might sound ruthless. I just think you could be a bit more too. It’s not Jackson’s fault of course. He’ll have been given the job knowing he would be cautious with it. ‘Just trim it a little to make it watchable’ and that’s what he’s done. If anyone’s got a download of this, gimme a shout, I’d love to get at it and see if I can back up my bluster.
8/10 for The Beatles, but a Fab 4 for Jackson.