Movie Review: Justin Timberlake gets the thrilling Stop Making Sense treatment

To understand what director Jonathan Demme does so well with Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids, watch just about any other concert film. For the most part, the stodginess of the form is stupefying. Cameras stay trained on the lead singer from multiple angles, with frequent inserts of the backing band and audience, for just a few seconds at a time. One song gives way to the next, all shot and cut nearly exactly the same way. The musicians have to work to keep viewers engaged, overcoming framing and editing that rarely shows them to their best advantage.

Demme, though, has a long, distinguished record of approaching concerts differently. He collaborated with Talking Heads on what many (rightly) consider the greatest rock ‘n’ roll film of all time, Stop Making Sense, turning an already thrilling performance into an ecstatic experience by singling out both minute individual gestures and the band’s …

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