In 'Round Midnight, real-life jazz legend Dexter Gordon brilliantly portrays the fictional tenor sax player Dale Turner, a musician slowly losing the battle with alcoholism, estranged from ... See full summary »
Opens with Bleek as a child learning to play the trumpet, his friends want him to come out and play but mother insists he finish his lessons. Bleek grows into adulthood and forms his own band - The Bleek Gilliam Quartet. The story of Bleek's and Shadow's friendly rivalry on stage which spills into their professional relationship and threatens to tear apart the quartet. Written by
In Spike Lee's fourth film, Denzel Washington proves early in his career that he is capable of being funny and romantic in a more modest film than Glory or Cry Freedom, the music is breezy and romantic and consistent, jazzy and colorful cinematography, and another characteristic Spike Lee touch, which is his gift for drawing from his actors stunningly realistic performances. In some ensemble scenes, the dialogue seems like improvisation. Maybe it is.
Mo' Better Blues is a good, steady, effective drama, a portrait of a complex and overwrought musician and the indecision and jealousy that gradually eat away at his life, but it lacks the passion and brazen provocative nature of nearly all of Spike Lee's other films.
The cast, once again, is brilliant. Denzel is very very very authentic, faithful, graphic, and lifelike. My brother is a jazz musician and I've met several of his fellow musicians. I'm seasoned when it comes to jazz musicians. Take my word for it, Denzel's performance is entirely true. Snipes is brilliantly, swaggeringly audacious. Joie Lee comprehensively draws our sympathy towards her sensitive, self-conscious character and away from the elegant and subtly compelling Cynda Williams. Spike Lee himself is one of the most compelling characters. Samuel L. Jackson entertains in one of his millions and billions of early bit roles.
If I were to say, "I'm in the mood for a Spike Lee joint," this would not be one of the first films I pick, but it's different and enthralling. I mean, it's directed by Spike Lee, so how can it not be?
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?