Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cadillac Records. C

'Cadillac Records' has a good beginning and a strong finish, but everything in the middle was uninspired, sloppy, and formulaic. I guess it'd be fitting to call the story fascinating. Some of the biggest names in the history of Rock 'n Roll established themselves at the recording company Chess Records run by Leonard Chess (in the movie he's played by Adrian Brody, who's good as always). Muddy Waters, Little Water, Etta James, Bo Diddley, and of course the great Chuck Berry all were a part of Chess' revolutionary record label. This material would have been fine for a documentary, but by turning it into a Hollywood music drama, writer-director Darnell Martin fails to bring out the true inner-selves of these artists. He tries, but with only a little over 100 minutes, he can't do much with so many characters. I'd have loved to learn more about, say, Chuck Berry, but Martin carefully calculates the screen time for each character and in the end it doesn't add up to much. Neither does the movie.

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