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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Under the Cherry Moon
Under the Cherry Moon
Warner Bros. // PG-13 // August 24, 2004
List Price: $19.96 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Antoine Johnson | posted August 24, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Under the Cherry Moon

The Movie

Rewind back to 1986. Prince was on top the world as a musician. "Under the Cherry Moon" was his follow up to 1984's smash hit "Purple Rain". Originally directed by Mary Lambert (music video director for Madonna, Bobby Brown and Janet Jackson), she left the project citing "creative differences" with the star. Prince ended up directing this movie himself and put his own stamp on it.

Critically panned, "Under the Cherry Moon" was shot entirely in France and in black and white. Supposedly, Prince wanted the movie to "feel" like a classic tale of love. Prince plays the role of Christopher Tracy, a Miami native that makes his living playing the piano and the women. Joining Christopher in his gigolo lifestyle is his buddy Tricky (Jerome Benton). Christopher and Tricky are trying to make their way by sleeping with rich women and spending their money.

Christopher reads about a rich heiress named Mary Sharon (Kristin Scott Thomas), and her $50 million inheritance. Of course Christopher decides that Mary will be his next victim, but unintentionally falls for her.

Along the way many things get in Christopher's way, including Mary's overbearing father Isaac (Steven Berkoff) and his disdain of Christopher. Other subplots include Christopher and Tricky's friendship being testing because of Christopher's relationship with Mary and a bit about Mary's father having an affair with a widow (Francesca Annis), the same widow that Christopher is bedding on the side.

The premise of the movie works; two friends that are chasing women and the almighty dollar, but ultimately it just falls flat. The problem is that Prince's very vain character isn't quite believable in making the transformation from a me-first gigolo into falling head over heels for a girl. Ultimately poor acting also does this film in, not the storyline. Prince is simply playing the role of Prince and Jerome Benton is playing the role of Jerome. They don't have to step far outside themselves to play these characters, but beyond a few well-played supporting roles there isn't much else holding this up. Prince and Jerome are actually funny, but again there isn't a lot they have to do other than be themselves. Kristin Scott Thomas's rich bratty Mary sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I guess she can be excused since this was her first major feature role. Her transition from hating Christopher to loving him seems so farfetched and isn't very believable.

How does it look?

"Under the Cherry Moon" is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic video. The black and white look has held up well over the years. There is a "soft" feel the images however, and they don't seem to be very crisp and sharp. This is because the film was shot on color stock and desatuarated in post production. Overall the movies look fairly good with minimal image problems.

How does it sound?

This movie disappoints due to being presented in 2.0 Dolby Surround. The rear channels don't get put to much use and I'm disappointed that Warner Brothers didn't give this movie better treatment. The soundtrack however is awesome, with almost every song from Prince's "Parade" being played. The music is intertwined with the storyline very well and makes up for the poor mix.

Extras

Big miss in this department! There is no commentary with Prince (possibly due to his poor relationship with Warner Bros), Jerome Benton or Kristin Scott Thomas. There are music videos for "Mountains", "Kiss", "Anotherloverholenyohead" and "Boys and Girls". There are presented in full frame and 2.0 sound.

Final Thoughts

"Under the Cherry Moon" isn't a bad film. There are parts that are genuinely funny and there are other parts that just don't work. Fans of Prince will want this for their collections. If you're a Prince fan, I would recommend that you purchase this movie. For those non-Prince fans, go ahead and rent it. The movie could have been better with better acting and a more cohesive storyline, but it could have been far worse as well.

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