07/02/2011

Forgotten Gem: The Commitments (1991)

When I was about 6 I had very particular musical tastes. I was only interested in listening to fine artists like Madonna, MC Hammer and Transvision Vamp and would usually turn my tiny nose up at anything my mum used to play (*COUGH* Hue and Cry *COUGH*). But there was always one particular vinyl capable of entertaining me and that was The Commitments soundtrack which accompanied Alan Parker's brilliant dramady (kill me) about some working class Irish folk who form a soul band.


"HAHA! Look at those crazy white people trying to emulate the greatest songs of American soul and put their own spin on the works of Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklyn and James Brown. I laugh in the face of their white faces!" That was basically the reaction from some idiots people who completely missed the point. Adapted from Roddy Doyle's novel, the majority of the humour stems from the confusion that erupts from the locals who clearly have no feckin' idea what soul is. The unknowns were mainly cast for their musical ability rather than their acting talents but each character is rich, believable and definitely the kind of people you'd wanna have a drunken fight with. 

While calling it a musical may be inaccurate, the numbers are consistently astonishing. Andrew Strong is the kind of bloke who'd go on X - Factor only to be voted off because Danni Minogue doesn't understand who he is. His rough, gravelly vocals make the kind of sound people assume can be achieved by simply shouting (HELLO MARY) but he is a fine singer who carries each number and makes you forget James Brown even existed. That's some feat.

Since it's enduringly popular and was voted the greatest Irish film of all time I'm probably taking liberties with the English language (again) by referring to it as 'forgotten' but more people need to seek out The Commitments because, in short, it's brilliant. Maestro, if you please...