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"Jimi: All Is By My Side"

Updated: Tuesday, June 3 2014, 01:07 AM CDT

What should have been one of the best films of SXSW was lackluster. Could you imagine watching Ray or Walk The Line without the songs of Ray Charles and Johnny Cash? They wouldn't have been the hit films that they were. Jimi Hendrix's estate would not allow the film to  use the music rights unless they were allowed full participation in the film's production. So John Ridley wrote the story without the body of music. John Ridley, who also wrote 12 Years a Slave, focuses on Jimi Hendrix before he becomes famous. The result is disastrous. Most of the scenes are of Hendrix just picking at his guitar while laying around with his girlfriend. 

In this film, Jimi Hendrix is portrayed by Andre Benjamin (of Outkast fame). He's a little too old for the role, but he still rose to the occasion. Hendrix was troubled with drugs and alcohol, but he was driven to become something great. Linda Keith (played by That Awkward Moment's Imogen Poots) takes a liking to him and wants to introduce the world to him. She wants to make him a star so they go to London to pursue his dream. There he meets a caucasian girl that he falls in love with. The film begins to focus on their relationship and the problems they have. Towards the end, his band, Jimmy James, Little Richard and Curtis Knight play a Beatles cover and everyone is blown away.

When you are tackling a project such as this film to show a world of young people who weren't around in the 60s a man that is known as one of the greatest electric guitarists in the history of popular music, you have to give the whole experience. Without his music, you will never be able to portray The Jimi Hendrix Experience. It's very disappointing since I could tell that Ridley put a lot of heart into his script. He even teared up during the Q&A at The Paramount when he talked about the extra care the production staff took in capturing the audio of a scene. I believe someone should try this project again and let the estate of Jimi Hendrix have final say. I do think the outcome would be on a much grander scale.   

By Ken The Critic @kenthecritic


"Jimi: All Is By My Side"

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