Thursday, November 04, 2004
You can be a blind person, and feel the film through its music. Images are not necessary, even though I found the film a visual treat. The editing, the colours, the camera angles, the closeups, the transitions, the imagery, the lighting, the use of archives, the period itself -- I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it all... and that doesn't even cover the acting or music.
I LOVED the music. I wouldn't be surprised if people get up to dance in the cinema. I want to get the soundtrack asap, so I can groove to it whenever I want. My favourite Ray Charles songs are on it, in all their groovy splendour.
The acting is splendid, too -- Jamie Foxx flexes his acting chops here. I'm not that familiar with his body of work, but I'm aware that this isn't his usual genre.
Don't get me wrong -- there are parts of this film that didn't do it for me. I won't spoil the film by detailing them here (hint: morality messages dripping in cheese), because I don't want to detract from the film's spotlight on the man and his music. You don't have to like the man to love the music. You don't even have to be familiar with Ray Charles at all to enjoy the film. I usually select films for the storyline, but occasionally I'll see a film if it focuses on music that I like -- an example of this is Standing in the Shadows of Motown, a documentary. (See it!) This biopic (by definition, not a documentary) is on par with it... it doesn't skirt Ray's shortcomings as a human being, but it does highlight his significant contributions to music, the challenges of being a blind person in a sighted world, and rising above what you're told you are, to what you could be. It's inspirational, it's moving (in all kinds of ways), and it's at a cinema near you.