Much to Chew On -- Perhaps Too Much

Orlando Weekly | March 27, 2007
By piecing together professional, archival and home footage, Sex Pistols documentarian Julien Temple quilts this film about the world's largest music festival. Due to the fertility of event material stretching back to 1970, there's much to chew on -- at a sprawling 138 minutes, perhaps too much. The film spans the festival experience, along with its history, philosophy, behind-the-scenes productions and live performances (including incendiary displays by Joe Strummer, Pulp and Björk, alongside footage of acts like Morrissey, Prodigy, Primal Scream, Billy Bragg, Cypress Hill, Scissor Sisters, Stereo MCs, Bowie and Babyshambles, among others). It clearly romanticizes the communal, primitive rite of the outdoor music festival, giving the doc a pleasant, loving hue. Its hazy attempts to echo Glastonbury's insanity through nonlinear chronology and the glaring omission of titles identifying key characters (like festival creator Michael Eavis or anyone else, for that matter) sometimes render the film formless. The event's vibrant essence is captured but lots of rich background narrative is suppressed.

Orlando Weekly

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