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  • Film review: Soul grabs you by the bollocks and lifts you above the shite

    The Commitments, originally a novel written by Roddy Doyle and later a movie by Alan Parker is a story of Jimmy Rabitte, a young north-Dubliner fresh out of school who gets a brilliant idea: putting together the first soul band in Dublin. After a seemingly hopeless search for musicians and singers Jimmy end up with a group of young people - some of them are talented and some not, but they all have a desire to come famous.

    As their band starts to get gigs, each of the members tries to put his or her identity and personality into the limelight - most notably the arrogant singer Deco - and this is where problems start to evolve. The band doesn’t function as a group any more, but as a bunch of individuals.

    Since the actors and actresses playing the parts in the movie are not very famous, the movie has a very fresh feeling to it. The most convincing performances were given by Robert Arkins (Jimmy Rabitte) and Johnny Murphy (Joey “The Lips” Fagan), but all of the actors also manage to portray very enthusiastic and passionate mood throughout the film. In spite of the difficulties the starting band faces, the movie leaves the viewer happy: the general joy of living and the feeling which comes from trying to fullfill one’s dreams are clearly visible and present from the very start to the closing credits.

    The music in the Commitments is, obviously, very good. I suppose some people didn’t fancy listening to the same songs a few times during the same movie, but I think it was a very good and a necessary choice. Had they put the Commitments to play a different song every time they were practicing or performing it would have had a negative effect on the beliavability of the film.

    Besides the actors’ performances, an another reason for the film feeling so fresh is that it is almost an everyday tale. The characters are walking along the wet streets of Dublin, not strolling on a computer-generated 3D background and instead of preventing some massive alien invasion they’re just playing soul and living their life as they see fit. At these times of massive Hollywood productions and grandiose fantasy films we need more movies like the Commitments - little, ordinary movies that leave a smile on your face.

    © Minna Pöntinen 2009 / minagi (at)