The biopic on the icon of the funk James Brown has experienced a pregnancy difficult. In fact, it comes out in theaters as long as 8 years after the death of the artist and Spike Lee, the director, engaged initially in the project, which initially looks like a simple documentary, was replaced by Tate Taylor, director of The Color of Feelings. The latter, even if he has not the aura Lee in the field of the defence of the african-american community, will, however, make here a movie pretty faithful to and respectful of the “Godfather of Soul”.
In the form, the non-linear narrative in time, the main character breaks the “4th Wall” by speaking directly to the viewer and the omnipresence of the music give a your own to Get It Up, away from the biopics too wise and purring in recent years, and therefore totally adapted to the funky Mister Dynamite. We regret may be just the timidity of the film to discuss fully some of the aspects most controversial of the artist’s life like his addictions, his involvement with the Black Panthers, or its affairs of domestic violence. These episodes are mentioned but the film mainly focuses on the childhood drama and the artistic career of his hero. Tate Taylor’s book, therefore, here a biography more groovy than engaged, but that works in the broad lines, if we except certain lengths (2h19 all the same).
Furthermore, the casting is quite “clever” with a lot of heads actually “hype”. We will meet, among others, Dan Aykroyd (Blues Brothers, SOS Ghosts) producer of the artist or Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette in the series True Blood) as a friend of the singer Bobby Byrd, but no actor steals the show at James Brown despite a successful game. And what James Brown as the one delivered by Chadwick Boseman, until now known for appearances in dramas and biopics sports ! It actually embodies the Godfather of Soul with the grain of madness necessary in the look, rhythm and voice quality for the musical scenes (when they are not extracted from the actual performance of Brown) and the tone of voice suitable.
“This is a film totally watchable and enjoyable for aficionados of the Godfather of Soul. “
It will also be appreciated the dialogues, including the tirades of James Brown where he talks about himself in the third person, and the omnipresence of the music of the singer’s “Get up (I feel like a) Sex Machine” “Get up offa that Thing”, passing through “The Payback” and “Night Train”, and in the mixing studio versions and live versions, covers all of the talented funk musician. In the end, Get On Up suffers from a few flaws, primarily those inherent to the genre of the biopic (lengths, some form of self-censorship…), but the pace and performance of Chadwick Boseman make it anyway, if not an indispensable, at least one film totally watchable and enjoyable for aficionados of the Godfather of Soul.
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