Bloated Rockers: A Review of ‘Lambert & Stamp’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - May 08, 2015
Bloated Rockers: A Review of ‘Lambert & Stamp’

More often than not, rock and roll history ends up getting treated like mythological lore but no matter how many times you tell the same story, there just isn’t that much that changes.  Lambert & Stamp tracks the tale of two aspiring filmmakers who end up managing and producing one of the greatest rock and roll bands of our time; The Who.  The only problem is that this feels like a story that we have heard countless times before.

It’s the swinging sixties in London and two entrepreneurial young men aspiring to filmmakers  are looking for subjects for the film on what it means to be young and dissatisfied in a post war London.  These two men, Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert both came from very different backgrounds but they shared inspiration from the burgeoning youth culture of the time.  When they came across the group, the High Numbers, the plan for a film got put to the backburner, as history was made and The Who were born into rock and roll history.


An interesting story to be sure, but Lambert & Stamp ultimately needed the editor’s knife as it never quite knows what to focus on and ends up being more than a little muddled as it descends into a mid-level VH1 special rather than an essential rock documentary.

First time director James D Cooper is ultimately a little too in awe of his subjects and his experiences as a cinematographer just doesn’t translate over into what we see unfolding on the screen.  It’s a loving but very messy ode to the band as it does nothing to elevate itself above the myriad of other docs made about the band.  It’s almost an effort for the pure fans, as it assumes quite a bit on behalf of its audience and just has a few too many moments in the middle of it all where no one but the hardcore Who fans will actually give a damn.

Chris Stamp makes for a solid and engaging subject as he weaves us through these stories, however other than some insightful words from Pete Townshend, there isn’t a single soul in this film who manages to generate any interest or compelling emotional reason to get engaged in any of these stories.  It’s all very nice, but it never gives the casual fan an honest to goodness hook to care about anything that is happening.

Ultimately, Lambert & Stamp needs you to be a hard core Who fan to truly get behind it, because while any music fan can appreciate the delicate balance between art and commerce at that time in the 1960’s, it’s just a little too bloated to draw in anyone with little to no knowledge about the history of the rock and roll icons that are The Who.

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David Voigt, has been a lover of cinema all his life and an actual underpaid critic for a solid 5 years covering everything that the city of Toronto has to offer. He was a content manager in video distribution industry before that and his love of all things cinema goes back to his first moments in awe looking up at the big screen. His 12 years of experience on the home entertainment side of the business have provided him with a unique view on what is worth spending your hard earned entertainment dollars on. Combine that with his unquestioned love of film, David should be your only stop to find out about the best in film, not only in Toronto, but worldwide.