By Michael Kaye
Sing Street (Review)
You know what genre I don't get nearly enough opportunities to talk about? Musicals, or at least movies that revolve almost entirely around music. But hey, that's not necessarily my fault, I just so happen to focus on new releases, and lately musicals have come once in a blue moon. Thank God writer and director John Carney has stepped into the ring this year, and boy has he delivered a good one. This is my review for Sing Street, starring Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Aidan Gillen, Jack Raynor and Percy Chamburka.
Here's the story. A boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980s escapes his strained family life by starting a band to impress the mysterious girl he likes.
I don't think words can describe how much I love this movie, but I'm going to try my very best to lay out my thoughts. Here are some of the highlights.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
First off, I'm going to work backwards and talk about the music for a change, since that's definitely been John Carney's biggest strength in his previous films Once and Begin Again. The original music for the film was composed by Carney, with the assistance of Danny Wilson frontman Gary Clark, alongside Ken and Carl Papenfus of the band Relish. And just like those previous films, I want to own the soundtrack immediately! "Drive It Like You Stole It" is a damn good song, one that could possibly be nominated, if not win Best Original Song at the 89th Academy Awards. But if that's not enough, since the film is set in the 80's, you're treated to a great selection of songs from bands such as Motorhead, Duran Duran, The Cure, The Jam, Hall & Oates, and plenty of others. Even Adam Levine, who worked with Carney on Begin Again, has an original piece he's written and performed called "Go Now," that could also get a lot of attention come Awards Season.
The cast in this film is chock full of talent. The movie is named after the band, led by Ferdia Walsh-Peelo as Conor Lalor, who named the band after the school he attends, Synge Street CBS. What a voice this guy has, I was very impressed by his performance. He had a great teacher in his brother Brendan, played brilliantly by Jack Reynor. Don't worry dude, we all forgive you for Transformers: Age of Extinction, now you can put that behind you and move on to better things. Now, for every John Lennon, there's a Paul McCartney, and Mark McKenna plays that role as Eamon, who works well alongside Conor. Finally, one of the absolute standouts of the film is Lucy Boynton, who plays Raphina, Conor's love interest.
Finally, what I love about the story is how even though the basic skeleton is something you've probably seen a million times before, it still works because the characters are so engaging and the dialogue feels so natural. Both this movie and Everybody Wants Some have really done a great job at not just setting their movies in the 80's, but fully embracing everything about 80's culture. Conor and his brother bond over music videos and rock music, while Back to the Future (which came out the same year) is name dropped twice. You can even feel the subtle influence of John Hughes and George Lucas in terms of certain story beats. Conor is on a hero's journey, his goal is to form a band and get with the girl, facing whatever obstacles come his way.
Sing Street is amazing, honestly it's the best movie of the year! Between this and Green Room, the rest of 2016 really needs to go big or go home, cause I have no idea how these two are going to be topped. I'm sure this will fit right alongside School of Rock, This is Spinal Tap and Almost Famous on the Mount Rushmore of music movies.
Now I want to hear from you guys! Have you seen Sing Street, and if so what did you think? Also, which music movies are in your Mount Rushmore? Drop your thoughts in the comments below, and stay tuned for my next review.