Get on Up (2014)

The Funk Don't Quit

A chronicle of James Brown's rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.

Chadwick Boseman is terrific, but <em>'Get on Up'</em> is missing something that would make it a great biopic.
I still very much enjoyed it, I always tend to find biographical films interesting - especially when I don't know too much about the person(s) in question, as is the case with James Brown here; I've always known of him and his major songs, but that's about it.
Boseman leads strongly, carrying the film really. That's not to say he's alone in terms of the onscreen talent, as there are others who I liked. Dan Aykroyd is solid, while Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis are welcomed cast members. The brilliant Lennie James is also involved, admittedly in a relatively small role.
With all that noted, I just felt there was something missing. I can't exactly pinpoint what that is. One of the things I felt from the start was the lack of likeability I had for the lead character, perhaps that was intentional though. The 'breaking the fourth wall' stuff is iffy, too.
The 139 run time probably comes into it as well, while the ageing for Boseman & Co. isn't the best I've seen - which isn't good, given the film opens with a scene that requires ageing so it naturally stuck in my memory more. As also mentioned at the top, I didn't come into this knowing all about James Brown and his music/life so that likely plays a part - though I've seen other biopics under similar circumstances and it hasn't affected my enjoyment.
There are still other positives, aside from the cast, of course. I actually liked the non-linear structure of how the story is told, while the cinematography is pleasant. The music is also worked in well.
All in all, it's a film that I would recommend. It had all the ingredients to be grander though.

Jagged Films, Imagine Entertainment, Universal Pictures by Tate Taylor, Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Steven Baigelman.
Stars: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis.

Genres: Biography, Drama, Music

Keywords: 1970s vietnam war biography south carolina singer breaking the fourth wall songwriter 1980s 1950s soul music non linear

08/01/2014

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