A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

The Commitments

October 16, 2010

The Commitments

Three times in the past my mother enjoyed a movie so much that they bought the soundtracks. She is not generally a movie buff. Neither is she given as I am to collecting soundtracks. The first movie that struck her this way was Stop Making Sense with the Talking Heads. The whole family spent a summer vacation in a rented RV listening to that album. More recently there was O Brother Where Art Thou, which we’ve already reviewed for the project. Then there was this movie. The Commitments is as much about the music itself as it is about the characters that make up the band and the rise and fall story of the movie.

The story that the movie tells is exceptionally simple. Jimmy Rabbitte. is tired of flogging bootleg tapes on the streets of Dublin and has decided to put together a band. He enlists the help of a couple friends and puts an ad in the paper. From there it is a story of people coming together to make great music and all the various conflicts that go on behind the scenes when they do. There’s problems with sex, with money, with the musical direction of the band, with egos… it’s like an entire episode of “Behind the Music” compressed into a quick movie. Complete with media interviews. (Jimmy has a habit of interviewing himself – it’s kind of the narration of the movie.)

It isn’t really the plot of the movie that makes it great though. There’s the music itself of course. I’ve already mentioned it, but the music in the movie really is astonishing. It’s a series of covers of great soul tunes, and the people playing the band are the actual band itself, which lends it a feel of reality. Apparently they cast actual musicians and singers and then had them act rather than the other way around, and you can really sense how much the music means to them. It probably helps their performances in the film as well. The whole movie is about these shining moments when everything goes right and these people who can’t even get along with each other create something that transcends all the petty squabbles and raises them up out of the rough world they live in. This is made all the more amazing when contrasted with the run down streets of Dublin in the early nineties.

That’s the other appeal of the movie. There’s a feel to the world the characters inhabit that is so stark and unhappy but for the most part they find a way to rise above it. Most of the fun in the film comes from the sharp, quick and often hilarious dialog. There are a lot of great little bits that stick with you and can bring a smile to your face. It’s an exciting, brilliant, funny and musical film that leaves you dancing along to the snappy music. It shows how working class people can become something truly magical through the power of music. Does it have a deeper meaning? Does it have an agenda? Is it about more than the music and the comedy? In the worlds of the movie “F*cked if I know, Terry!”


October 16, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , ,

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