Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Review of Cadillac Records

Cadillac Records
27x41 Original Movie Poster
Cadillac Records 27x41 Original Movie Poster Beyonce

Movie Review

I saw Cadillac Records yesterday. It is a musical biopic that is now showing in theaters, it was written and directed by Darnell Martin. The film explores blues music starting in the early 1940s to the late 1960s. It chronicles the life of the influential Chicago-based record-company founder Leonard Chess, and some of the musicians who created and recorded Chicago blues music.


Adrien Brody as Leonard Chess
Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James
Emmanuelle Chriqui as Revetta Chess
Mos Def as Chuck Berry
Gabrielle Union as Geneva Waters
Columbus Short as Little Walter
Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters
Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon
Eamonn Walker as Howlin' Wolf

I thought it was a good movie, all things considered. The performances for the most part were well done and you can see that the actors wanted to put in a good performances. And some of them really shined.

Adrien Brody and Jeffrey Wright both did good jobs acting. But I could not totally suspend disbelief when it came to Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters. I think this maybe because I am such a big fan of Muddy Waters. I really like Jeffrey Wright as an actor, but here it was a hard sell. Having said that I can not think of anyone who could have done a better job, but Muddy Waters is such a strong character to play.

I thought as a whole that the movie packed too may threads into the same movie. Any one of the musicians depicted in this movie could have a movie made about their lives (and I hope someone makes those movies too). But too many threads caused the movie to play fast and lose with the facts, which again was kind of annoying to me, and again that may be because I'm such a big fan of the musicians depicted in this movie.

I was pleasantly surprised by Beyoncé Knowles as Etta James. I think she brought a lot of emotion to the part and of course her singing came across very well and is probably the high point of the movie.

Another highlight was Mos Def as Chuck Berry. I thought he really played the role well and he puts you in the mind of Mr. Berry. His mannerisms were perfect. I also really liked the part of Howlin' Wolf as played by Eamonn Walker. And because I enjoyed the way he played the part, it made me think that I would love to see a movie about Wolf's life played by Eamonn Walker.

Columbus Short as Little Walter was very well acted and he played the part in a way that portrays much of the volatility and sadness of Little Walter's life. And both Gabrielle Union as Geneva Waters and Cedric the Entertainer as Willie Dixon put in notable performances.

The movie was very enjoyable, and while I have some criticisms of the film they are minor. This movie is a great introduction to blues music for young music fans. It has many popular young actors who may be able to attract young people to the blues pioneers and to be inspired by them.

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