1 September 2014

The Commitments


The Commitments 1991
  • Director: Alan Parker
  • Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle
  • Cast: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle, Dave Finnegan, Bronagh Gallagher, Félim Gormley,  Glen Hansard, Johnny Murphy, Kenneth McKluskey, Andrew Strong, Colm Meaney, Anne Kent, Ger Ryan, Phelim Drew
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Angeline Ball – Rose and Maloney
    • Maria Doyle   Downton Abbey, The House at Tara Road, Moll Flanders
    • Bronagh Gallagher – Sherlock Holmes, Last Chance Harvey, The House at Tara Road, Star Wars Episode 1,Mary Reilly, Pulp Fiction
    • Glen Hasard – Once
    • Colm Meany – Parked *,The Van, The Snapper, The Last Mohican, Die Hard 2
    • Ger Ryan – Moll Flanders, The Van
    • Phelim Drew – King Arthur, My Left Foot
  • Why? This film is simply a must-have
  • Seen:  About ten times previously. Now August 29, 2014, with friends KJG and JG.
10 * of 10. I can rate it before even starting the film.  This is absolutely in the top five or so of my favourite films ever.
So how will I rate it this time?
In case you don’t have the story – a mismatched group of young (and one old, i.e. around forty) unemployed or low-wage factory employed kids in Dublin in the late 19080’s form a soul band. Their driven young manager Jimmy, still living at home with his mum and da and all the kids, counters the group’s scepticism about being too white to make it as a soul band with the words: “The Irish are the blacks of Europe, the Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland and the North Dubliners are the blacks of Dublin. Say it loud, ‘I’m black and I’m proud’.”
Against all odds Jimmy installs a feeling of pride in them and somehow or other he hammers them into a very good soul group. Nevertheless conflicts abound. Everyone hates the obnoxious, ego-tripping lead singer Deco (a brilliant Andrew Strong who has far as I can find never played in another film) even though they agree his singing is phenomenal.  Love and sex are the guts of soul but impractical in a band.  They get gigs but they don’t get paid. Violence lurks and breaks out. It’s not easy.
If you’ve seen it, you have your favourite scenes. Mine are: Jimmy’s da singing Elvis (played by Colm Meany – see my review of Parked – link below). The auditions. Bernie in her fish’n’chips van. “Destination Anywhere” on the tube. The dark limo on the dark quay. And oh, the music!
Our friends KJG and JG have not seen the film before. They love it. Their loudest laugh is at: Jimmy (about Joey the Lips Fagen): “God sent him.” Da: “On a fuckin’Suzuki?!?!”
It’s raw. It’s funny. It’s bittersweet. It deserves every award and word of praise it has ever received.  It really is one of the Top Five best films ever made.  I just wonder what happened to most of this tremendous cast.

Still 10 or maybe 12 * of 10

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