“That’s feckin’ blasphemy. Elvis wasn’t a Cajun” – The Commitments (DVD Review)

Everyone has had some kind of deluded dream or desire. Some want to be the best football player ever, some want to have the biggest tits/willy in the world, some want to be the best looking actor in Hollywood, some want to be drug filled rock starts getting blowjobs for breakfast. I wanted to be a pirate (and one day I will be) and Jimmy Rabbitte wants to manage the greatest Irish Soul band of all time; and just why the feck not? He’s a decent manager, has the gift of the gab and oozes confidence. There is one slight issue of not having a band to manage but that’s no problem for Jimmy. He assembles ten musically talented outcasts, delinquents and reprobates who then begin rehearsing for the start of their promising career but obviously it’s not as simple as that. There’s ten different egos to cater for. Ten diverse characters that all have their own opinions about what they should be doing. The underappreciated Jimmy is the sorry glue desperately trying to hold the band together.

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The best moments of the film are when Jimmy is interviewing himself, essentially rehearsing his answers for future talk shows. These parts of the film are wonderfully relatable as anyone who dares to dream can own up to this guilty pleasure. These scenes with Jimmy really allow the audience to connect with the character and also gives an insight to how high Jimmy’s hopes for the band actually are.

It’s not polite. It’s not glamorous. It’s The Commitments. Boozing, shagging and live music; what’s not to love? 25 years ago I’d like to think that question was rhetorical. In this over opinionated, critically savage modern day however, the film doesn’t really survive the test of time. Which is actually this generation’s loss as it’s a fucking groovy tale. Credit where credit is due though, Alan Parker crafted a great unknown cast purely on their musical ability. Their acting experience and capability was irrelevant, a brave move on Parker’s part but it really paid off.

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The film itself is now 25 years old, hence this uber high definition erection worthy re-release. The DVD includes a collection of decent behind the scenes shit; interviews with Alan Parker and the cast, making of featurettes and looking back on The Commitments retrospectively. These special features are genuinely worth a watch as they contain some amusing anecdotes and other little hidden gems that you probably wouldn’t find elsewhere. Bar the internet as everything is on the fucking internet. I’m fairly certain there is a picture of my penis on the bastard internet. Anyway, I would recommend watching the special features at least a week after you watch the main event because a lot of the content is just repeated.

Overall The Commitments is lacking whatever made it so great in the early nineties but it should firmly own a place in any respectable film collection. Having not seen it back in ’91, I am lacking a nostalgia factor but there’s no doubt that this movie has that appeal as well.

2.5/5

Dir: Alan Parker

Scr: Dick Clemet, Ian La Frenais, Roddy Doyle

Starring: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Bronagh Gallagher, Johnny Murphy, Andrew Strong, Colm Meany

Prd: Marc Abraham, Armyan Bernstein, Souter Harris, Lydna Myles, Roger Randall-Cutler, Tom Rosenberg, David Wimbury

DOP: Gale Tattersall

Music: Wilson Pickett

Country: Ireland

Year: 1991

Run time: 118 mins

The Commitments (25th Anniversary Edition) is available on Blu-Ray and DVD now.