Review: Jimi: All Is By My Side (2014)

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A year in the life of rock legend Jimi Hendrix is documented in John Ridley’s ill-conceived and tedious biopic Jimi: All Is By My Side. Jimi (Andre Benjamin) is discovered by Keith Richards’ misses Linda (an utterly wasted Imogen Poots) after playing a gig with Curtis Jackson in New York. Now with a manager, Hendrix relocates to London, where he meets Kathy (Hayley Atwell) and slowly rises through the musical ranks. With the focus squarely on the months prior to Jimi’s breakthrough, Ridley paints a different-than-usual biopic – one that avoids familiar cliches. Yet, Jimi: All Is By My Side has its own fare share of issues, not least the fact that it’s much too long and almost entirely soulless. It doesn’t help that the only music heard throughout is covers of other bands’ songs because the film was denied rights to Hendrix’s backcalalogue. There’s a few electric on stage sequences, and Benjamin fares okay as Hendrix, but there’s nothing much to engage with. Come the end of the film, it’s almost impossible to fathom both the films purpose and its intended audience.

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