Stop Making Sense

Stop Making Sense ★★★★★

It seemed unbelievable that a concert doc could be so universally loved until I actually started watching this. I wasn't even through the first song before I was pretty much in love with Stop Making Sense, a surreal celebration of creativity bursting with life. Byrne starts the show with just a boombox for accompaniment and an empty stage behind him. Even in this simple presentation he's a transfixing stage presence as he goofily dances around.

The bassist joins him and they play a song, then the guitarist, and so on until finally the entire group is out. It forces you to appreciate what each member of the group brings to the overall sound and makes that first song with all of them almost overwhelming. Each song brings a new look to the stage or Byrne himself from abstract images projected behind them to glasses or the iconic big suit. Complicated choreography is a constant and so demanding of Byrne especially that he seems more machine than man (if a bit sweaty for a robot), at one point literally running laps around the stage. Between the wonderful music, captivating performance, and Demme's intelligent direction giving it a truly cinematic feeling Stop Making Sense is indisputably the peak of concert documentaries.

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