This is a fascinating and compelling documentary about guitarist Andy Summers’ life, focusing mostly on his time in The Police.
Things do not get off to a good start: it’s evident that the budget for this movie was not amazing, and some of the concert and other footage used is not of good quality. Worse, Andy Summer is reading his book as the narrator of the film; Summer is not the greatest choice for narrator as he’s clearly reading and often comes across as stilted and unnatural.
But these are nitpicks and don’t really matter. What we learn – at least, those of us who haven’t read the book – is that Summers is self-reflective in the way a lot of rock stars probably are not, and actually can string some sentences together in an intelligent way. Summers’ narration, which starts off feeling like a weakness, actually eventually turns into a strength. And Summers’ life has been rather fascinating, as you might imagine given that he was in what was once the biggest band in the world.
In addition to concert footage, interview footage and film taken of the band when they were still together, the film also features Summers’ photographs, and it turns out he’s a pretty good photographer. And the combination of his narration and his photos paint an interesting picture of a band I thought I already knew plenty about.
Like so many documentaries, the film blends the present with the past, as it follows Summers around during The Police’s reunion tour. But the documentary actually does a better-than-average job of combining past and present, jumping between performances of songs from the current tour and earlier performances. It’s a tired documentary practice but here it manages to work quite well, showing how the songs have changed and also how the band have physically changed.
Honestly, I got really worried at the start of this movie, like I’d made a mistake. But I ended up really liking it, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes The Police or even just music fans in general.