A tribute to the rock-star life of art and excess
I may be simplifying matters a bit, but that's generally the story here with this film. I say generally, because I had quite a bit of difficulty following what was going on. That is, if anything was going on. Most of the time it felt like I was flipping back and forth between two different channels, one with a concert by Livien, the other showing his "Behind the Music" episode. Unfortunately, neither made me want to stick around.
Livien (Jason Behr, "Roswell") is either truly the reincarnated Lennon, believes he is, or is playing the part... I can't say for sure. He certainly dives right into the role, dressing and sounding like the Liverpool legend, and even introducing a Yoko-like influence to the band, which includes "Lost"'s Dominic Monaghan and The Blair Witch Project's Joshua Leonard, and is managed by Ally Sheedy's Brea character. Nobody stands out with a great performance, nor does anyone fail in their spots, though why they needed a talent like Sheedy to play her part isn't quite clear.
The film follows the band as they chase fame and as Livien slips further and further away from reality. He's got a seriously messed-up background that reveals itself in bits and pieces, but by the time you start to care, the whole thing becomes incredible obvious, and the movie becomes a waiting game. When what you expect to see actually happens, it's anti-climactic, instead of the powerful statement that it might have been in another story.
Director Rebecca Cook certainly gets the visuals down right, using a variety of techniques to keep the film interesting when the story drags. At times, the tricks can be a bit distracting, but when they work they are wonderful. It would be tempting to say that the film relies too much on the look, since the story doesn't quite work, but truthfully, they are used judicially and to proper effect, especially the changes in color, which indicate a great deal about what's happening.
One major problem with a movie like this, is the songs sung by Livien. When you try to make the song seem great, they truly have to be, otherwise they won't do what you want them to do. That's why Almost Famous's original songs worked, as they sounded like the efforts of a quality rock band. Here, the songs aren't bad, but they are more like an Oasis cover band than Beatles-esque. As a result, it's hard to take Livien as a genius, which hurts the overall effect of the story. It would be almost impossible to achieve what this film attempts without using legendary music.
The audio is presented in three options, two of which are 5.1, a Dolby Digital and a DTS track. The DTS track carries with it a slightly deeper sound, though both tracks do a good job of presenting the movie's mix of music and dialogue. During songs, the side and rear speakers bulk up the effort, while some scenes include some interesting audio effects that are presented very well.
Aside from a quartet of TLA trailers, the only other extra is a DVD-ROM feature, a PDF of the film's shooting script. It might be of interest to potential indie filmmakers out there.
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