McCartney 3, 2, 1

Rating 9.1
Streamer Disney+
Seasons 1
Episodes 6 x 30 mins

Whether you’re a Beatles superfan with a cat called Lennon and a kid named Harrison, or someone who appreciates their music from the sidelines, prone to belting out Let It Be when it inevitably takes over the speakers on karaoke night, McCartney 3, 2, 1 is an instant classic.

We join two music legends, Rick Rubin, cofounder of Def Jam Recordings, and Paul McCartney, a man who needs no introduction, in a walk down memory lane. Rubin breaks the songs down to such an extent that it feels like we, and McCartney alike, hear each familiar favourite for the first time. Where past interviews dig for headline-worthy dirt, Rubin focusses on the music, playing the songs and, as Stuart Jeffries says in The Guardian, “shifting a few levers” to make discoveries, such as “McCartney’s superbly grungy bass…as miraculous as finding another picture beneath an old classic.”

If you’re a fan of music documentaries, give Reclaiming Amy a go.

However, amidst Rubin’s dexterous dissection is a gentle discussion which feels more like a chat between old friends than a six-part investigative documentary series. The Times’ Ed Potten argues that Rubin is “not a tough interviewer, but who wants that?” Instead, he paves the path for McCartney to take a senior stroll through his own history, stitching new stories into our, already extensive, knowledge of the band. Along the way, anecdotes slip out of McCartney, fleeting in nature but fundamental to the creation of The Beatles. The door is left wide open to the inner and outer reality of The Beatles, revealing the simplicity of its members and the sophistication of their art.Perhaps it is director, Zachary Heinzerling’s masterful filmmaking which utilises, as The Telegraph’s Anita Singh points out an “entirely black background” ensuring there is “nothing to distract us from the music”, or perhaps it’s the unavoidable universality of The Beatles which makes their private our personal. Either way, McCartney 3, 2, 1 is a must, joyful from start to finish.  

First shown in August 2021.

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