Anyone who has seen The Commitments I’m sure will agree; it’s a classic! As wannabe band manager Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Atkins) tries to piece together a ragtag bunch of Northsiders and bring soul to Dublin, we’re treated to the highs and lows of a bands’ early days. Alan Parker’s (Bugsy Malone and Fame) true to form directing creates a powerful stage for Roddy Doyle’s novel that has been beautifully crafted for the big screen by screenwriters Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais (The Likely Lads and Porridge).
The Commitments sparked a cluster of touring band films and still remains the basis off which many are built. Yet what makes The Commitments special is that the actors were chosen as much for their musical talent as their acting ability. Andrew Strong, who takes the limelight was only sixteen when The Commitments was made and certainly brings the soul to this films unbeatable soundtrack. A soundtrack that has gone on to lead the way for a highly successful musical of the same name.
The Commitments, though watched by many for it’s music and characters gave a homely and loving twist (albeit somewhat exaggerated) to the often desperate and damning portrayals of urban decay. By choosing to focus on the hope and success of his characters rather than exclusively their struggles, Parker freed his characters of any constraints brought by their setting, but still managed to portray the truth of their situation. When Parker then combined the setting, the characters and the music, a simple but beautiful piece of film was born.
This 25th anniversary edition proved just how timeless The Commitments is. With the quality of blu-ray adding gusto to both the sound a picture, it could have been yesterday and many will be fooled into thinking this is a new release. The special features which include behind the scenes documentaries, an unmissable music video and a brand new interview with Alan Parker are fantastic and although they may not be much interest for a first time viewer, long time fans will go nuts!
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