RELEASE DATE: 15 August 2014
RATING: 16 L
RUNNING TIME: 134 Minutes
GENRE: Musical, Drama
STARRING: Christopher Walken,Eric Bergen,John Lloyd Young,Michael Lomenda,Vincent Piazza
DIRECTOR: Clint Eastwood
WRITER: Marshall Brickman, Rick Elice
PRODUCERS: Graham King,Robert Lorenz
PRODUCTION BUDGET: $40 Million
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.jerseyboysmovie.com/
After watching the trailer I had already established that the film would be a biographical musical drama, so I had to brace myself for the musical numbers, as I am particularly not a big fan of the genre. However to my disappointment, the film actually focused more on the narrative`s drama opposed to the music.
WHAT GOES DOWN
Based on Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice theatre-musical of the same name, the film follows four young men in the streets of New Jersey, United States who can be easily described as good for nothing because of their names being synonymous to crime. However as the story grows they become one of the most popular bubble-gum pop-rock group of the 1960s, “The Four Seasons”.
What particularly made the film interesting before watching it was that it was a biographical feature on an all-male band which drifts away from Hollywood`s conventional female group musicals like Dreamgirls (2006) and The Sapphires (2012). The scripting in the film ‘breaks the fourth wall’ by having the characters delivering a confessional monologue to the spectator. This element has been used in popular U.S television shows like “House of Lies” and it is pretty interesting and engaging to see it being used in a feature film.
The aesthetic design in the film sets up the tone and texture very well that it is almost impossible not to be able to decipher the specifics of time and space the story takes place in. This tool makes the film great to watch and caters well to its adult audience who may be able to resonate with the time.
The film does obviously have a musical leaning in it however it is not filled with dance and music numbers that make the film irritating to watch but the music is incorporated to follow the journey of the quartet`s rise, decline and resurrection in prominence.
A decision that was likely prompted to truly capture the essence of the musical, the films rendition was written by the original theatre-musical`s writers, Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice. Having not seen the theatre piece I can only say the film version was satisfying. It had a couple of dynamics here and there but nothing constant nor special.
The film is directed by film juggernaut Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby, Invictus) he played it by the book this time around as it was pretty simple and lacked a considerable amount of novelty and special features. Clint can get away with it though he really doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone with his streak of success.
The leading man in the film is blockbuster unknown actor John Lloyd Young who is reprising his role from the original theatre production as Frankie Valli. So I pretty much learned that he did his own singing which is really amazing as so was his acting…but back to the music quickly, he could pretty much play soul singer Maxwell and pull off those falsetto notes so well that he could take your girl home at any time he wanted to. His character was very convincing, I can simply say that, he nailed his performance.
I should say that there is really no dull moment in the film with Vincent Piazza (Boardwalk Empire, Rocket Science) in the cast. His character is simply more than enjoyable and he would almost shut down John Lloyd Young if he had more screen time. He is the bad guy you love to hate. His Jersey accent is on point! So are his mannerisms and character-emotional details…he got it right!
WHY WATCH IT
I find the film to be heavily performance driven which is awesome as it makes you engage with the character`s respective journeys.
Take a reel back in time and enjoy this art-house Phenom.
Vusumzi Ntshanga @Vusumzi92