Ronnie Wood has at all times appeared like he’d be nothing if not an fulfilling hold. That proves to be very a lot the case with “Someone Up There Likes Me,” a documentary concerning the Rolling Stones guitarist from British director Mike Figgis (“Leaving Las Vegas”), who has clearly been hitting it off for fairly a whereas with the musician … though Wood is so hail-fellow-well-met, you observed he might need a good rapport with anyone. A surfeit of conviviality and a storied 60-year profession don’t at all times add as much as a nice story, although, and so “Someone” might be favored by hardcore Stones followers down right here greater than raved about by anybody hoping Figgis has sussed out a narrative worthy of one in all his fictional tasks.
When Wood is glimpsed in the doc’s opening, there are pianos tinkling as a substitute of guitars blaring, as we see him at work on his different ardour, visible artwork. That he’s engaged on sketches could function premonition of the sketch-like high quality of your complete brief (72-minute) function, which dips in and out of bands, eras and tales of druggy extra and household redemption with out ever making an excessive amount of of an influence in anybody space. It lacks the harrowing qualities of a lot of rock biopics, though that isn’t essentially for Figgis’ lack of making an attempt: There are quite a few moments in which the filmmaker tries to persuade Wood into exploring the bounds of extra or private devastations. No hazard of this turning into “Leaving Las Vegas 2”: The rocker, whereas by no means downplaying the hazard of the fireplace he’s performed with all through his life, has to chuckle as he admits he’s led a largely charmed life. We find yourself charmed, too, if by no means actually riveted.
Wood fills in a few early particulars which may have left psychological scars: an alcoholic father who might need ended up spending the night time in any random neighbor’s backyard; a old flame who perished in a automotive crash. From there, issues search for for Scott, even when it does take him greater than a decade after he first spots the nascent Stones enjoying blues covers in a nightclub in 1963 and make good on his vow to sometime be part of them. Within the interim, he spends the ’60s and early ’70s making profession strikes that will be peaks for many musicians, even when it was all prelude for him: stints with a storage band referred to as the Birds (to not be confused with the Byrds), then fruitful hookups with Rod Stewart in the Jeff Beck Group and Faces, earlier than Mick Taylor’s abrupt exit from the Stones creates a dream opening.
What’s nearly humorous — however which additionally precludes “Behind the Music”-level highs or lows — is how completely useful an alcoholic and addict Wood was. “He has a nice immune system. He’s very like me, with a nice ache threshold,” figures Keith Richards, laughing; Charlie Watts permits that he “did do a lot of issues to extra” however “by no means misplaced it.” Wood’s third spouse, Sally, his junior by a number of many years (two prior spouses and their kids go unmentioned), factors out that he’s “at all times a completely satisfied particular person” whether or not sober or not, however she prefers the additional realness now that, having rounded 70, her husband is totally substance-free. Wood is operated on for lung most cancers however comes out being advised it’s as if he hadn’t smoked any cigs, not to mention 30 a day for 50 years — what he calls “a get out of jail free card.” Sooner or later we will agree with the title: God should take pleasure in doing the hold with Wood as a lot as Figgis.
For all that’s neglected of a film this brief, Figgis makes some curious inclusions, like outdated video footage of himself speaking with the famously scary rock supervisor Peter Grant, or Mick Jagger discussing about what sort of jazz art-school college students favored in the early ’60s — fascinating topics for different, longer movies. It actually may have used yet one more movie clip of the Stones with Wood in the band than the one we get, of them enjoying “When the Whip Comes Down.” There’s some fascinating speak by Richards of how completely different a taste Wood dropped at the band, entwining along with his personal efforts as a substitute of going off on melodic solos like his predecessor, Taylor; Jagger talks about how they instantly grew to become a extra “good-timey” band upon Wood’s mid-’70s arrival.
Not surprisingly, “Someone Up There Likes Me” turns into a good-timey film, too … as a lot of 1 as any film that introduces the topic of freebasing cocaine and different normally extra ominous matters may be. By the best way, for anybody whose information of Wood comes primarily from remembering Mike Myers’ impression on “Saturday Night time Stay”: The film doesn’t have, or require, subtitles; relaxation assured that the rocker’s oft-parodied dialect is absolutely as clear as his present-day head.