‘Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids’
When Jonathan Demme makes a concert movie, he doesn’t just make a concert movie. It’s not that he does anything fancy. “Stop Making Sense,” his three Neil Young films and his new bash for Justin Timberlake are each straight-up records of a show. What makes Demme the concert movie’s greatest auteur is the way he captures the the thrill, the joy, even the humanity of performance.
The boy bander is the most mainstream name he’s ever lensed, but you can see why he was drawn to him: Glitz and garishness and all, it’s clear Timberlake sincerely loves his packed stadium shows. And it’s not just about him: He loves his musicians, his back-up singers, his crew and, of course, the throngs who’ve paid to be there. Timberlake feeds off everyone’s energy, then gives back in kind. You don’t have to know Demme’s the one doing the looking to know that what’s onscreen isn’t a mere cash cow; it’s something beautiful, even utopian. You don’t have to know more than two of his songs to find it 90 minutes of transcendence.