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A group of young musos and would-be musos in 90s working class Dublin led by Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) optimistically form an R&B band, The Commitments, 'the world's hardest working band', to bring soul to Dublin and to focus their lives. They have incredible adventures, ups and downs, in the process.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A gutsy, inspired and inspirational film of music and its amazing power, told with breathtaking energy, humour and through tangible, credible characters who jump off the screen, The Commitments is one of Alan Parker's great works. It is exhilarating and haunting, with some superb musical numbers shot live. I know that's true 'cause I was there on set for some of it.

The Irish are the blacks of Europe, and Dubliners are the black of Ireland, says Jimmy (Robert Arkins) as he tries to fire up his newly formed rag-tag band with the influences of BB King and the like. This may seem ho hum on paper (er, screen) but in the context of young Dubliners scraping together a few bob for a beer, "I'm black and I'm proud" is not a statement that comes naturally.

From here, the film moves on to the Fame structure (another Parker film) but with all the earthiness of enthusiasm ahead of polish. The characters are wonderfully diverse and wonderfully drawn. And the music is ripping. The highlight for me (partly 'cause I was there for the filming of it) is the outstanding version of Mustang Sally by the band. It's full throated, full throttle stuff. But then I dig soul and I dig the blues.

With his sharp eye for casting for character, Parker delivers a rich and engaging experience, beautifully shot by Gale Tattersall.

The DVD - with its inventive and appealing menu design - is packed with extras, with an 8-minute Making of, followed by a full 25 minute version. But Parker's filmography is a tad short at five minutes, considering his ouvre.

Published: June 10, 2004

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CAST: Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Dave Finnigan, Felim Gormley, Dick Massey, Kenneth McCluskey, Glen Hansard, Andrew Strong, Johnny Murphy, Bronagh Gallagher

DIRECTOR: Alan Parker

SCRIPT: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Roddy Doyle (novel by Roddy Doyle)

RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.85:1; DD 5.1;

SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of (x 2); Alan Parker Filmography; Treat Her Right music video; trailers


DVD RELEASE: June 10, 2004

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