VOD film review: Tina
James R | On 28, Mar 2021
Director: Dan Lindsay, TJ Martin
Cast: Tina Turner
“I was living a life of death. I didn’t exist.” That was how Tina Turner described her marriage to Ike in an interview with People magazine, several years after she split from her abusive husband. It’s a stark, evocative and bold description and, while the majority of her life and career since has been dominated by that association with Ike, it’s also characteristic of the strength and resilience that define the global superstar most of the all.
Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin’s documentary, simply called Tina, does a fantastic job of opening up that name to explore every facet of the musical icon. Where she could be reduced to that single aspect of her personal life, this two-hour profile zooms out as well as in, putting every bit of her journey through the music industry into rewarding context.
Made with the full co-operation of Turner’s estate, the access that Lindsay and Martin have is a feast for fans, taking us right back to her the young girl first displayed her fierce, lung-busting talent. The majority of the film is a talking heads affair, with conventional and chronological beats followed without many surprises, but it’s thoroughly researched and slickly made. We hear, for example, how she didn’t like What’s Love Got to Do With It, a song that was originally intended for someone else until she put her stamp on it.
The spectre of Ike looms large, with recordings of her interview with People magazine and other more recent interviews driving the portrait of an embattled artist – a woman who, due to the morbid fascination of the media, had to tell her story of abuse over and over again. But Tina doesn’t dwell on her victimhood. Divided into five chapters, it’s ultimately a celebration of her artistic authority, self-earned success and eventual liberation – the best moments here aren’t tabloid gossip but the jaw-dropping recordings of her doing what she did best: getting out on stage and blowing the roof of concerts. It’s an excavation of a life that’s still being lived – and a talent, and legacy, that will exist for generations to come. Simply the best? You’d be hard pressed to disagree after watching this.