Funny, musical and occasionally dramatic, this is the story of tumultuous rise and fall of a Dublin Soul band, The Commitments. Managed by Jimmy Rabbitte, an unemployed wheeler and dealer with a vision to create "The Worlds Hardest Working Band".Written by
A poster featuring Parker's earlier Birdy (1984) can be seen in the video store. See more »
In the song I Never Loved a Man, Natalie sings lead. There's a lock of hair sticking out next to her right eye, very obvious in the closeups early in the song. Yet in the wide shots, and the closing closeup shot, her hair is perfectly under control. [Although not specifically addressed, this is explained in the directors commentary on the bonus DVD -- for the live shots, they only had two cameras, and recorded the closeups first, the wide shots later. Typically a single live song would be done dozens of times, taking most of a day.] See more »
Bring a bunch of destitute Dubliners together to form a soul band. Crazy? No, brilliant. Jimmy Rabbitte is the young man with the dream. He's unemployed (who isn't?) but that's OK because he has the idea, the passion that will change everything. Drawing from the down-and-out youth of Dublin he's going to put together the world's greatest band. And he has just one type of music in mind: soul. Does this make any sense? Not to anybody else. But Jimmy's got the vision. And somehow it all begins to come together. His band, The Commitments, is on its way. But it's not a straight ride to the top. There will be struggles and conflicts and life lessons along the way. But the journey is worth it because, despite all the odds stacked against them, it turns out The Commitments are one heck of a band. Playing their wonderful, unique, rockin' Dublin soul.
It's a great ensemble cast that makes up this movie's band. Robert Arkins plays Jimmy, the guy who brings it all together. And then the musicians do their thing. Never for a moment do you not buy into these performers as a real band. Their acting is fine but it's the music they play that makes the movie shine. Unlike so many other movies of this type almost all the singing and playing is actually done by the actors themselves. And when The Commitments cut loose this movie rocks. Jimmy Rabbitte might take exception to that. It's not rock, it's soul. Whatever it is it's absolutely bursting with energy. And that is thanks largely to one exceptionally talented young man. While everyone in the band plays their role well there's no way around it, Andrew Strong is the star. Unbelievably just 16 years old when the film was made, Strong plays lead singer Deco Cuffe. And he's got the voice of a singing god with the charisma and star power to match. But there's a problem. Deco is a completely insufferable jerk. Everyone else in the band hates him, and rightly so. Deco may well tear this group apart.
The movie follows the band's rise, with all the drama Deco causes threatening a fall before they hit the big time. Which would be a shame because this band is awesome. When first thrown together they understandably make a stuttering start. But once they get their act together they are something to behold. The music they play is fantastic and it makes the movie so much fun. Whether performing a tender ballad or a really rocking number The Commitments hit all the right notes as they run through a soul classics songbook. Try A Little Tenderness and In The Midnight Hour are two obvious highlights but every song really works, not a musical misstep to be found. The music is so great it largely overshadows the rest of the film. The story largely takes a back seat but there are plenty of good moments in between the big musical numbers too. For as good as he is on stage Strong is also excellent portraying the boorish lout Deco offstage as well. Arkins is terrific as band manager Jimmy, holding his band of misfits together. One other standout is Johnny Murphy as Joey 'The Lips' Fagan. He's the wise old hand of the group, a trumpet-playing philosopher who's played with all the greats. Here is a man who appreciates the journey. He also appreciates the opportunity to bed the band's three lovely female backup singers. The band in this movie goes on a magical ride. And lucky us, we get to go along. This movie is a rollicking good time. Dublin soul rocks.
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