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A musical set in the Prohibition-era American South, where a speakeasy performer and club manager Rooster must contend with gangsters who have their eyes on the club while his piano player and partner Percival must choose between his love, Angel or his obligations to his father. Written by
Movin' Cool (The After Party)
Written by André Benjamin, Big Boi (as Antwan "Big Boi" Patton), Joi Gilliam,
Mr. DJ (as David Sheats)
Performed by Outkast featuring Joi
Courtesy of LaFace Records/Zomba Label Group See more »
There is a very good reason that films in general are getting significantly worse in every quality. Why? Because in our time, when a film is made that is intelligent or creative in some significant way, it is usually ripped to pieces by critics and the general audience, teaching 'Hollywood' a lesson that they take to heart all too well.
Idlewild is a first rate musical, and feast for the eyes. Like 'Running Scared (2006)', the director believes that there is no reason a movie made in the 21st century should not benefit from all the options modern film technology offers (and no, I don't mean the visual rubbish that assaults the eyes in recent Tony Scott efforts). However, the state-of-the-art methods are used strictly in the service of 'old fashioned' film entertainment values, and this seemingly 'insults' the 'too cool for school' types, for whom enjoyment seems to be the last reason to pay to see a movie.
The actors are great, the acting is fine, and the production values are top notch. The story is a little clichéd, and as a result, the writer does seem to have cut-n-pasted from various familiar sources. However, this is a very minor criticism in a film that uses music as much as the spoken word to tell a story.
While the music is (mostly) contemporary, it was written with the aim of slotting into a (fantasy) period drama, and does so beautifully. While many of the performers may seem to have a 'rap' background, if this puts you off seeing Idlewild you are seriously misjudging the creativity and range of their talent.
Some may claim the film is a little 'tame', but a much better description is 'inclusive'. In other words, Idlewild really wants to reach and impress a wide audience, and it is a great pity that this doesn't seem to have happened yet.
Idlewild is a sexy sophisticated 'feelgood' musical- a vanity project for OutKast no doubt, but also a wonderful treat for those that value todays's rarest treasure, a new movie worth making the effort to see.
By the way Idlewild is NOT 'one long music video' (and I'm hard placed to see such comments as 'innocent' given the power of this lie to put people off seeing the movie). So forget any fear of 'opera' (like Evita where everything is sung) or MTV masquerading as a film. This is a HBO production, like Deadwood or the Sopranos, and that means quality first, especially the quality of the dramatic presentation. However, although Idlewild is an 'adult' film (thank heaven- the PG13 sludge is killing me), it lacks the extreme and explicit content of many of HBO's TV productions, so may be safely viewed by more 'sensitive' types.
If you watch a lot of films, and have no greater pleasure than finding an unexpected gem, give Idlewild a go. It really is 'the one that got away'.
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