This provocative portrait of Jimi Hendrix as a fledgling rock legend features Outkast’s André Benjamin as the supremely gifted young guitarist in Swinging London. Directed by 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
An absorbing and provocative portrait of Jimi Hendrix as fledgling legend, John Ridley’s All Is By My Side features hip-hop star André Benjamin (one half of Outkast) as the supremely gifted young guitarist in the throes of self-discovery. Ridley, best known for his screenplays for Three Kings and 12 Years a Slave, digs into the crucial year that Hendrix spent in Swinging London. He was induced to move there in 1966 by Linda Keith (Imogen Poots), girlfriend of Keith Richards, who spotted him playing backing guitar in a New York R&B club. Eschewing the contrived dramatics of the standard rock ‘n’ roll biopic, Ridley immerses us in the milieu and volatile relationships that provided the conditions in which his incandescent talent might blaze. Though visibly older than Hendrix, who was 24 in 1966, Benjamin turns in an uncannily intimate impersonation of the elusive star. Students of the Hendrix estate will know not to expect to hear the man himself on the soundtrack, but new takes on works he covered capture the original electrifying effect. — BG
“Ridley makes wonderful use of archival footage that contributes to both the film’s authenticity and its emotional impact… With Imogen Poots and Hayley Atwell turning in layered performances, the story of the women who gave direction and support to Hendrix becomes a central part of the film. But Ridley’s master stroke was casting Benjamin. Entirely natural in his performance, he knows how to allow the camera in, and can convey both the inner struggle of this troubled genius and the electric personality that would make him a star.” — Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival