Movie Review: Jimi: All is by My Side (2013)

Starring: Andre Benjamin, Hayley Atwell and Imogen Poots

Directed by: John Ridley

A drama based on the life of Jimi Hendrix as he leaves New York for London to start his career in the music business.

Jimi Hendrix is a music icon and he rose to fame in the sixties before his untimely death in 1970. While he only had a short recording career he has been credited as being one of the most influential guitarists in history. For such an important figure within the music industry this biopic movie was released a little under the radar and received a relatively low key and minor release from what I would’ve expected. I found the casting of Jimi Hendrix to be slightly unusual as Andre Benjamin, also known as Andre 3000 from OutKast, was selected for the part and while he has all the musical acumen I just don’t think his acting is quite strong enough to be able to pull off such a huge character study. The casting of Andre Benjamin would’ve made a lot more sense if this movie focused mainly on Jimi Hendrix’s music and his on stage performances but instead it decided to focus a lot more on his persona, mindset, relationships and touched upon his drug use more than it focused on what made him so iconic.

I felt that the story being told didn’t really showcase any of the brilliance of Jimi Hendrix apart from the occasional guitar performance but seemed to depict him as a mumbling, care free individual who didn’t like to show his true emotions or feelings. Andrew Buckley who played Jimi’s manager Bryan ‘Chas’ Chandler was very entertaining and I thought he was one of the stand out performers along with Imogen Poots who played Linda, the woman who discovered Hendrix in a New York club and tried to use her contacts within the music world to give him a chance. Outside of these two actors the rest of the cast were largely mediocre and forgettable and at times certain characters just didn’t seem to have any kind of purpose at all. I’m not really a huge Jimi Hendrix fan and I wasn’t too excited about most of this movie so I can only imagine that the hardcore Hendrix fans out there must truly hate this attempt of a biopic.

Overall, I think the movie failed to truly capture the brilliance of a man that has become so iconic over the years. Andre Benjamin seemed the wrong choice of star for the type of movie it was and maybe if it was more musically based then he would’ve been a better fit. Rather lack lustre attempt to bring Jimi Hendrix’s story to life.

4/10

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