Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sing Street - Review

Irish teen Conor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) seeks solace in his developing music skills and the 80's new wave movement from the dysfunction in his house and the unchecked chaos and poverty in the streets of Dublin. Forcibly transferred from his prep school to the local public high by his cash-strapped parents, he sees a beacon of hope in the form of the girl across the way, a wannabe teen model named Raphina (Lucy Boynton). He gets her to be in the music video he's set to shoot but first he needs a band, songs, camera equipment, and musical guidance in order to keep her impressed. SING STREET is a beautiful ode to the dreamers in life. Wonderfully woven by John Carney, he continues his hot streak of musical masterpieces with this obviously being his most personal endeavor, as his surrogate stumbles his way into finding the creative beauty he possesses and the people who support him and love him back. All of the scenes where Conor and his "futurist" crew come together to play a new tune or shoot a video are spellbindingly delightful, as the joy of making music and movies are artfully captured by Carney's vision and Yaron Orbach's cinematography. This feel-good movie can't all be sunshine and rainbows however, as it constantly informs and showcases the gritty depression of the city and the people within it. The rampant domestic and authoritative abuse, non-stop homophobia, and other unsolvable horrors all come baring down on Conor and his mates in graphic detail. Nevertheless, they continue to move forward, accepting the "happy sad" nature of life and seeking whatever new musical trend they can be influenced by and model themselves after.

I had some of the best movie-induced goosebumps while watching this movie. The soundtrack is beyond excellent, weaving in the brand new songs with the nostalgic jams that helped motivated the making of them. Carney and his musical company even expertly snuck in the bad creative decisions many 80's songs still have, as best seen in the band's first single "The Riddle of the Model", where the musical body contains that offensive Asian jingle that plagues the likes of The Vapors' "Turning Japanese". All of the songs are fantastic but it's hard to top "Drive It Like You Stole It", the film's centerpiece that mixes the exhilarating Hall & Oates-inspired tune with the aesthetics of the climax of BACK TO THE FUTURE and the dream theater that is playing only within Conor's head. Trained musician Walsh-Peelo delivers a great performance in his acting debut, as does Boynton whose character thankfully contributes a huge part to the trope and their musical video projects when she's not scorching up the screen. But the real acting highlight obviously has to go to Jack Reynor as Conor's older brother and secondary muse, who's brilliant in both the humor and drama he brings to the picture. I have some minor nit-picks about the movie, such as how the band members themselves kinda fade away in the second half, but the sheer scope of Carney's filmed fantasy along with the film's high watchability rate makes this a magnificent work of art to be won over by. See the movie, buy the soundtrack, and view the movie it again and again, whenever your day is up or down.


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