Jersey Boys – Film review by David Edwards.
Jersey Boys brings to the screen some of the greatest musical hits of the 1960’s and the life stories of the iconic group who delivered these, the Four Seasons. Jersey Boys is the latest offering from master director and actor Clint Eastwood and reprises the Broadway hit musical of the same name.
Jersey Boys is a biographical musical drama that captures the lives of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey as they set about realising their ambition to reach the top in the fiercely competitive music industry where organised crime and thuggery held sway. Along the journey to fame, the group becomes embroiled with the mafia and serve time for petty crimes. Like many music groups, individual ambitions, rampant egos and personal rivalries constantly threaten to tear apart the fabric of their lives and the group itself. Their saviour is the long list of hit songs that established the Four Seasons as one of the most successful groups of the time. Such hits as ‘Rag Doll’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Sherry’, ‘Walk Like a Man’ and ‘Who Loves You’ will bring back many fond memories to the Fifty Five Plus readership. The music is the heart and soul of this film and every number is delivered with the polished style and on-stage performance for which the group was justly renowned. The lead singer, Frankie Valli, played by John Lloyd Young, with his unique falsetto style is simply outstanding.
The biographical nature of the film has resulted in a style which is an amalgam of melodrama, pathos and a touch of Bollywood, the latter perhaps being a playful invention of the director, Clint Eastwood. Wherever the idea came from, it adds to the entertainment value. The scrutiny given to the personal and professional lives of the group members sweeps the audience along on a roller coaster ride of successes, failures and frustrations. These are interspersed with hilarious events that at times verge on the ridiculous. An example is the loading a stolen safe into the boot of their getaway car which causes the front wheels to leave the ground, resulting in the car crashing through a shopfront window. As musicians the Four Seasons were professionals extraordinaire, but as criminals they were rank amateurs. Whatever their foibles, no one can deny their talent as musicians and the film captures this element superbly.
Duration of film 134 minutes.
Jersey Boys will be available on DVD from November 11th.