As a one-time Beatle, Paul McCartney has always been cool. But he exudes a different kind of cool in "The Love We Make," a documentary focusing on McCartney's role in organizing the post-Sept. 11 Concert for New York.
The occasion hardly lends itself to a "Hard Day's Night" zaniness, and there's no hint of frivolity in this film, recently assembled from footage shot a decade ago by Albert Maysles.
But even allowing for that caution, McCartney often comes off as distant and at times annoyed by the demands of his celebrity and stature.
One scene shows him walking down a New York street, enjoying the way people come up and want to say hello. "I feel like I'm running for mayor," he jokes.
Other scenes, though, show him looking for ways to avoid fans, telling his driver to "lose them" and complaining after he signs an autograph, that "people sell them, you know."
No doubt he does feel that way at times. But McCartney has worked hard and well at being graceful and pleasant in public situations for almost half a century, so it's interesting that someone who is so protective of his image would approve a film that makes him seem a little annoyed at fame.
It's particularly interesting since the film itself seems designed to focus less on a famous musician than on preparations for the concert. It doesn't promote anything specific about McCartney, except maybe the enduring appeal of his music, which was well-established before this film.
McCartney's 9/11 story is that he was on a plane headed back to England. The plane got as far as the tarmac and then, like every other plane in America after the attacks, was whistled back to the terminal.
When the idea for a concert came up during a "what can I do to help" discussion, some of McCartney's other friends got involved. The lineup for the six-hour concert ended up highly impressive, featuring luminaries from the Who to Bruce Springsteen.
The film just samples the show itself, giving a flavor of the music and the mood. The famous "Osama Bin Laden can kiss my royal Irish a-" line is here, along with Jim Carrey's embarrassing firefighter jokes.
McCartney plays godfather and catalyst, from what we can see, and onstage, it's clear that he and his songs remain royalty.
Offstage, he sometimes comes across as a guy who needs a break.
Last Updated: 09/09/11 07:08