March 23, 2004

The Commitments






Andrew Strong, a.k.a. Deco, he of the ugly face and the dynamic voice who leads song for The Commitments, was just 16 years old when the movie was filmed. This is according to the documentary that comes on the DVD. If you've seen the Irish flick, you just freaked out, unless you knew that already. He sounds like 16 going on 40 belting out the rhythm & blues numbers in the film.

This is my impression after my 5th viewing. Especially regarding older films, I never know whether to write for those who have seen a movie, or for those who haven't, so I tend to blend it. I'll review the premise and the achievement, and speak familiarly for those who know what happens. No spoilers though.

I have seen The Commitments 5 times, so you would probably assume that I like this movie. And yes, I do. I love it in fact. The story is both funny and dramatic, as are stories of fledgeling bands coming together. However, the music really carries the film, and this is what makes the multiple viewings very enjoyable. You can dance to this movie if you want to, with songs like Mustang Sally and Midnight Hour. The story isn't strong enough to hold the film up for two hours, but the humor and the soul keep you listening if not watching.

The Commitments set out to save Ireland by bringing Soul to the people. This is their mission as brought to them by the apparent messenger of God and trumpet player Joey Fagen. If you haven't seen it, do you need to know any more than that?

Imelda Quirke, one of the backup singers, really really helps with the watchable aspect of the film. The director utilized her legs to the fullest.

When I first saw this movie at the Lobo Theater over on Central Ave. when it was released back in 1991, I did not know what the UK term "shite" referred to. After learning the meaning of this term, subsequent viewings have greatly increased my understanding of the plot. I think "shite" the second most common word in the script. The most common word begins with an F.

The ending, as Joey "The Lips" puts it to Jimmy, makes this story poetry rather than predictable tripe. This is a timeless tale. I'll probably watch it 5 more times in coming years.

Just a week or so ago, a "collector's edition" DVD of The Commitments was released. Alas, I have the regular old version they released last year. That's okay, as much as I love The Commitments, I don't think it is worth 4 hours of documentary.

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Posted by Wayne at March 23, 2004 08:58 PM
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