Absolute Beginners (1986)
Company: Twilight Time
Starring: Steven Berkoff, James Fox, Patsy Kensit, Eddie O'Connell, David Bowie, Ray Davies, Anita Morris
Plot: Product Description: Director Julien Temple’s free-form rock musical adaptation of Colin MacInnes’ cult-fave book about life in late-1950s London, Absolute Beginners (1986) offers music and performance by the likes of David Bowie, Sade, Ray Davies, The Style Council and Gil Evans. Focusing on the British music scene on the cusp of the 1960s, the film features a breakout performance from Patsy Kensit and a fabulously stylized visual élan.
My Review and Thoughts:
I'm a sucker for musicals. I just love them. Some of my favorite films are musicals. I was surprised when reading Twilight Times release info in hearing that this was one of their choices. To be honest I had never even seen this one. So this was an actual treat for me. A treat to actually experience it for the first time. I had no pre-conception going into it. I had no knowledge of it. I didn't even know what it was about other than the critics hated it. Those are always the best movie experiences, clean slate. What's better is when the movie you enter clean slate is worth it and leaves you satisfied. This 1986 film is that reality in my viewpoint. I absolutely loved it in all its weirdness. It was fun. I found myself singing along, tapping my feet. It truly was an energetic film. A great viewing and music that sticks with you, and makes you want to watch the music numbers again. The critics lambasted it by saying its, pieced together. The situations are like music videos spliced into a film. I can really see that argument, but I still found enjoyment in it. I thought it has a great Midnight Screening, Cultish film reality.
Directed by Julien Temple. A director I honestly never have really followed or looked at before. I knew he had directed the goofy, cultish comedy, Earth Girls are Easy. I knew he had worked with the punk group, The Sex Pistols, but I never have really looked him up. The film that I am reviewing, I would say from everything he has done, this one lingers in your mind after viewing it.
Needless to say this was a total flop and utter disaster at the box office causing massive hate from critics and even companies to go bankrupt. It has what I have said already, cult status, mainly due to its terrific soundtrack and music numbers, and for that I can see way.
This stars the very beautiful and multi-talented Patsy Kensit. She does a wonderful job in this part. Also the music icon David Bowie. Also starring a true icon of cinema James Fox. Fox is a masterly performer at the art form of acting. I think that is what, is also a reality that stands out about this film, is the acting, by all those involved. Each performer is able to own their character and create a believable reality to that character, so that the viewer becomes attached to them.
I think it was probably the odd change of the movie, from the book it's based on that caused a lot of talk and weirdness. The book was written by Colin MacInnes and adapted to film by Richard Burridge. They changed the book about life in 1950's London into a flashy musical.
This is filled with glamorous costumes, sets and musical numbers that really stick with you and give you a sense of almost, a carnival like setting of a spectacular show. I was impressed with the film, even though like I say, I can see the argument in its flaws.
Twilight Time I think respected this film and gave it a proper outlet to be experienced for a modern generation, and for those who love the movie. Also to allow the critics to experience it all over again, whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is in the eyes of the beholder.
A fun, wild and very interesting piece of musical cinema.
I have never seen this before so I have nothing to compare it to, but I can say with 100 percent, the imagery and sound is vibrant, beautiful and very crisp to the ears and the eyes. It looks and sounds like a new film. Flawless in this department.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 2.35:1
AUDIO: English 5.1 and 2.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
Isolated Music track. This reality is different this time around compared to many of the other Twilight Time releases. This is a setting of various artist and not just one particular person. But like always it’s a true treat to be able to listen to the music by itself, and specifically with this one, because it is a musical.
Insert Booklet by film historian Julie Kirgo. Another fantastic read from a wonderful knowledgeable film lover.
I think this is one of those films that is easily defined in two ways, you love it or you loathe it, and there is no middle ground. Twilight Time did a lovely job as always in restoring this piece of cinema on a new outlet for a modern generation to experience. I think the best way to describe this film is it has a Late Night, Midnight Screening, Cultish feel that embraces it with all it’s over the top flare, and performances.
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