THE BLOG
11/14/2013 09:39 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Ultimate All-Star Concert Film: 12-12-12 on Hurricane Sandy's Anniversary

Who or what could upstage these musicians: Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Michael Stipe, Chris Martin, Eddie Vedder, Roger Waters, The Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney? Maybe a big storm. Aerial shots of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy are intercut with concert footage in the new documentary 12-12-12. These shots of homes a pile of debris, water coursing through residential neighborhoods like a wild river, houses ablaze, and the people whose lives were upturned, speak volumes. The movie, under Amir Bar Lev's deft direction, makes a big impression. Harvey Weinstein approached him, admiring his work on The Tillman Story, and work began roughly 10 days before the concert. "I hired a bunch of fellow filmmakers I admire here in town and we all fanned out around the Garden and collected material ad hoc," wrote Bar Lev in a recent email. With a focus on helping, as the behind the scenes glimpse illustrates: whatever could go wrong did: including the Internet breakdown when people who wanted to pledge money couldn't. Eric Schmidt was called in to the rescue.

You could say the entire concert was a rescue mission. Steve Buscemi, Jake Gyllenhaal, James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, and many others manned the phones. Backstage after Mick Jagger's energizing "Jumpin Jack Flash," the question was, who can follow the Stones? You can, was the answer. Cut to to Billy Joel. And what about those firefighters and first responders showing sass and heroism! After a premiere screening of 12-12-12 at the Ziegfeld last week, I congratulated Harvey Weinstein on this achievement, a first class entertainment and call to arms for emergency relief. Weinstein said simply, "Yeah, it's a real New York movie."

A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.