A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Clint Eastwood’s directorial career is something extraordinary, almost as marvellous as his acting career: heaven help us when he combines the two! His latest, “Jersey Boys” is of course the long awaited biopic based on the musical of the same name which is based on the lives and careers of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.
The trailers looked intriguing, while the music was as catchy as ever – this should be a hit, right? The musical has been playing since before I can remember, why wouldn’t it translate seamlessly to the big screen? Well, the truth is that it should do just that; it’s the directing that appeared to be the issue with “Jersey Boys”; was Eastwood the right man for the job?
Every man and his dog knows and loves the ultra-infectious melodies and iconic falsetto of Frankie Valli. That alone however is not enough to mould a biopic around, especially a big-time one. “Jersey Boys” tells the story of the success, the fame and the highs, but is bookended by the beginning and of course the post-glory days in an emotional roller-coaster of a feature length film.
There is a lot to be learned about these men; don’t let the voices fool you, these guys were trouble back in the day, and their run-ins with crime, the law and prison are explored in depth.
For the handful of people who either have not seen the musical or have never heard of these guys, “Jersey Boys” is a good introduction and exploration of their music and personal lives, as well as those who influenced them; but it is definitely half an hour too long – boredom creeped in momentarily on more than one occasion unfortunately.
Stylistically and visually, the film is excellent. It looks and feels true to the eras in which it is being set, and the attention to detail really immerses you in the world.
The film also includes an enormous use of ‘breaking the fourth wall’ in which the characters break action and address the audience, usually with chronological exposition. Again, for the audiences who don’t know these guys, it helps a lot, but at the same time, can prove rather distracting.
There are also moments where the film is not excellent. For instance, the scenes that dealt with the band members’ personal lives at home or away from touring felt dragged out and rather tedious, and when combined, they added a whole chunk of runtime that could have easily been removed.
Furthermore, the inclusion of Joe Pesci, a well-known influence and associate of the group, does NOT warrant shameless “Goodfellas” references. The flagrant delivery of the line “Funny how?” was beyond cringeworthy.
Honestly I don’t know who gave the green light to that but they really need to think twice before doing something like that again. It really felt out of place and made me rather frustrated.
It’s not the best biopic ever made, but at least “Jersey Boys” pays close attention to detail and comes with a lot to be pleased about. From the inclusion of cast straight out of the musical, to the fabulous musical-inspired concluding number, “Jersey Boys” doesn’t completely fail at what it set out to do.
Sadly, it doesn’t really amount to anything spectacular in the way that “Notorious” (a fantastic music biopic) did for example.
If you’re a diehard fan, you’ll be satisfied, but anything else and you may end up being mildly-to-pleasently entertained at most.