US/UK, 2008, 102 min
Legendary pop music genius, record producer Phil Spector created the “wall of sound” behind some of the greatest hits of the ’60s: Be My Baby, He’s a Rebel, Da Doo Ron Ron, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling, to name just a few. Today he is imprisoned serving 19 years to- life for the murder of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson.
Stephen Holden, The New York Times
David Fear, Time Out NY
Prepare to be dazzled.
John Anderson, The New York Times
The creator of rock's fabled â€˜Wall of Sound,' the Svengali of the â€˜60s girl groups and the producer of the Beatles' â€˜Let It Be'â€¦ a man who for 50 years has avoided the news media like the plague.
Richard Brody, The New Yorker
The great songwriter and record producer, the sonic auteur of the shoop-shoop eraâ€¦ This documentary by Vikram Jayanti has the great virtue of delving deeply into Spector's artistic legacy, through well-chosen video and sound clips, incisive and analytical supertitles by Spector's biographer Mick Brown, and, most of all by Spector's own recollectionsâ€¦ (discussing) his classic work in illuminating detail.
J. Hoberman, Village Voice
Lives up to its grandiose title. A scoop. A Top 40 opera. Spector's discourse and observationsâ€¦are interwoven with his greatest hits, often played in their glorious entirety. Spector didn't invent adolescent emo, but he dignified it with Wagnerian pow.
Illuminating and entertaining. It's mesmerizing.
Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Creepily riveting! A rock â€˜n' roll Napoleon in exile, caught in a time warp.
V.A. Musetto, New York Post
A landmark documentary. (It's) most fascinating when Spectorâ€¦ talks about his years as a record producer.'
Kevin Lally, The Hollywood Reporter
Fascinating, intimate portrait. Essential viewing for any pop-music fan and any student of celebrity pathology.
Steve Dollar, Wall St. Journal
An eloquent raconteur. The interview is so juicy.
Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone
At its most intense moments, the movie creates a gripping harmony of sound and images. A rise-and-fall tale fitting of one of the greatest producers of all time.
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly
If you love pop music, you must see this movie! Riveting. Electrifying, one-of-a-kind, crime-meets-tragedy documentary. Like Napoleon with borderline personality disorder. Mesmerizing to behold. He's got terrific stories. When Scorsese chose Be My Baby to open MEAN STREETS (arguably the single greatest use of a pop song in Hollywood history)â€¦he was echoing the juxtaposition pop music and movies that Kenneth Anger had invented... From Anger to Scorsese to BLUE VELVET to SUPERSTAR: THE KAREN CARPENTER STORY, that synergy of movies and pop music has always had a special operatic power â€“ it's like a conduit to the unconscious â€“ but until THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY OF PHIL SPECTOR, I'd never seen that same aesthetic employed in a documentary. The movie isn't simply the record of the trial â€“ it's the story of a haunting nightmareâ€¦ a ghoulish rhapsody of sin.
Andrew Male, Mojo (Uk)
A dark, gripping, revelatory and at times hilarious portrait. Spector himself is utterly captivating. Unmissable.
The Daily Mail (Uk)
4 stars! [...] Extraordinary.
Time Out (London)
One the Best Documentaries of the Year!
Neil Rosen, NY1
Engrossing! [...] fascinating controversial views on stardom, the music industry, the American justice system and his unusual, reclusive life.
Andrew Billen, The Times (London)
Not only a hell of an exclusive but a work of art itself, a synthesis of a psychological profile, a critical history and a candid, surprising interview.An overwhelming experience.