Film Review: The Beatles' 'Get Back' documentary is a unique project that will never be bettered

"a must-see for all Beatles fans and for anyone interested in how collaborative art works at the coal-face"
Film Review: The Beatles' 'Get Back' documentary is a unique project that will never be bettered

The Beatles, in that famous "on the roof" session, in Get Back

★★★★

The Beatles: Get Back (PG) is a three-film documentary series detailing the Fab Four’s final recording session, although by time The Beatles convened to commence work on their latest project on January 2, 1969, none of them were feeling especially fab.

The idea was to write, rehearse and record an album’s worth of material, to be ready for broadcast during a live TV special scheduled for January 18 — a ludicrous deadline, and one reeking of hubris, and not least because the entire process was being filmed (the result was released as Let It Be in 1969).

Here Peter Jackson, using the restoration techniques he developed for his documentary They Shall Not Grow Old (2018), splices together the best six hours from roughly 55 hours of original footage, and the result is a must-see for all Beatles fans and for anyone interested in how collaborative art works at the coal-face. 

The dynamic between the quartet is fascinating, partly due to the friction that has been a long time simmering (“I’m scared of me being the boss,” says a disingenuous Paul) but also because the democratic process lacks direction in the wake of Brian Epstein’s death, and nor does their new, back-to-basics approach help, with George being gradually squeezed out of the creative process as Paul and John revert to the songwriting chemistry of their Quarrymen days.

All told, it’s a unique project that will likely never be bettered. And the music isn’t half-bad either. (Disney+)

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