Before going further on the 33rd Clint Eastwood’s movie, you might be perplex about this topic choice. Knowing Clint’s filmography, you do not expect a Broadway show adaptation. Wipe out all your prejudices since the big Clint is in charge: this is neither a strass and spangle movie nor a gang and big gun one. This is rather a savvy mix of emotions, 4 destinies biopic and a highlight of the America of the 60’s.
Indeed, almost like a documentary about the famous group The 4 Seasons, you glance through the superficial of the cosy ambiances to focus on the complex relationships between the 4 artists. These 4 young men are in an America of the Cadillacs, the diners, and the neighborhoods ruled by the local mob. Between innocence and exalted ambition, you discover new actors more TV and Broadway with the excellent Christopher Walken as the benevolent godfather.
With such a risk, you can understand this film might divide. Indeed, produced by the two main concerned Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio (singer & composer), is this biopic much too bland and convenient? For those who aspire clash, tears, drama and trash well known from the showbiz, ultimately, you will be disappointed. As a matter of fact, the film « voluntary » diverts from the back stages of a descent into hell like Tony Montana which may seem now way too cliché. Convoluted truth or true narrative choice? Feel free to choose!
Nonetheless, Clint actually made choices on this film, that reveals how impressive he is as a director. I guess, the shots are not that daring and the photography is quite conventional but the choice of the camera positioning is coherent with his narrative intentions. You are the camera. Reporter, friend or fan, you are following step by step Frankie and his fellows’ rising. Always at the level of the TV, of the scene, or through close-up, you become the true exclusive reporter who obviously does not have complete access to their intimacy but witnesses all the big steps of their careers.
Moreover, a dialogue is set thanks to the main actors who offers many direct aside to the camera, which of course reminds you the powerful effect recently seen in Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street.
Still far from the trickle drama, the actors’ performances deserve a special note, especially John Iloyd’s one. Thanks to their smart interpretations, you have the chance to see great scenes. Here the proof again a great director is in command, actors delivers many emotions only through simple glance. Of course the attitude, the “Italianish” accent and the suits are doing their parts but the true credibility and inspiration of the film remain in the actors ability to say more beyond words. For example, when Frankie is at his worst, The camera is getting closer, looking for his face weighed down by emotions. As he has no way to escape the intrusive camera, the actor simply turns away his look to preserve his pride.
To the intelligence, add the talent of these actors-singers and you obtain awesome covers!
Is this film a « true » Clint? Be the juge. But for sure, to choose this week a good friends film, escape the 3 scatterbrained blonds (The Other Woman) and go « run for the music! »