Get on up – (Biography, Drama, Music, 2014) D: Tate Taylor W: Jez Butterworth, John Henry P: Peter Afterman C: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd. 2h 18m. USA. (PG13)
TAGLINE : The Funk don’t Quit
Synopsis : A chronicle of James Brown’s rise from extreme poverty to become one of the most influential musicians in history.
Upbeat, comical and sentimental recollection of the grand master of funk himself Mr. James Brown. Starting out with one of the more controversial moments of Mr Browns career and possibly part of one of his best car chases, manages to kick off the movie, but it soon starts to backtrack to his humble beginnings detailing a humble upbringing and is abandonment of first his mother Susie (Viola Davis) then father. Slowly creeping up through the ages constantly showing the havoc that the unstoppable Brown created throughout his life. A sterling profound performance from Chadwick Boseman (42 2013) who’s ability to mimic the grand master is hauntingly accurate, an excellent choice from director Tate Taylor (the Help 2011). Tracing the rags to riches caper that’s heavily injected with quirky reaction shots while Chadwick gives the audience a little info or shows concern for being in a “honky ho down”.
Detailing the jail time, inspirations, courage and various song and dance outbursts of the “hardest working man in show business” Brown is depicted a strong willed domineering, maverick, flash dressing perfectionist and activist, storming the charts as well as fighting for civil rights. All while sidekick Boby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis) is on hand to provide a footing and commentary. As the Famous Flames fade into obscurity the godfather or soul takes his rightful place as centre stage running the show exactly as he and only he intends it to run.
Great detail is paid to the costumes and settings while there is a variety of a minor historical inaccuracy, some events are played up for the grand Hollywood screen. There is still a bold demonstration for the zeal of music throughout. Former Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd has a cameo as Brown’s manager Ben Bart and Jill Scott finds herself at the end of a single punch as Browns wife, it’s enough to demonstrate their happy marriage, but his flaws are rarely demonstrated. Despite these flaws, that are clearly portrayed in the film, it prefers to paint him as a savior of American Funk and we can’t deny him his hard work and preservation paid off. A great and entertaining homage to the late and great James Brown.
Rating – 9/10
V : I love a ton about this movie, it’s clever, it’s sentimental and it’s funny, the only thing that puts me off is that it failed to paint James Brown with the negative brush enough on the domestic side. I like that it didn’t ignore his behavior to his wife, in fact it’s prevalent but it just glorified him a little TOO much. Still it seems to be a damn fine account, there isn’t much wrong with it at all. I do admire that it ends at a high point, and doesn’t play out but I think to be fully complete it could have gone right to the end of the story. Maybe playing on the people who are influenced by James Brown today, how his legacy of music is still alive today.
R: Notorious (2009), Beyond the Sea (2004) , Tina (1993) The Soloist (2009), American Gangster (2007)