Idlewild - Wild not Idle
| The musical keeps on struggling to come back and the latest attempt is a fun little prohibition era, gin joint flick from the OutKast guys called Idlewild.
The story involved two friends running a speakeasy, cool but deadly gangsters and sexy but equally deadly women. In between they manage to sing a lot of songs, provided by OutKast, and move like itís going out of style.
Idlewild is a gorgeous film full of lushly decorated, intricate sets and kinetic cinematography that creates an atmosphere that is part period, part hip-hop, part timeless sinnerís paradise. It follows Moulin Rouge!ís lead by using our post-modern references to establish a historical scene that is even more true to that time than a stricter interpretation.
Did I mention that Idlewild is gorgeous? Itís shot in a smoky haze of soft light, rich colour and beautiful people. The pacing slow and rhythmic like much of the score and you can get into the groove of the film by sitting back and letting it wash over you. The story falls into place, not with surprises and twists but with a welcome familiar refrain that played by a true artist.
One more time, this film is gorgeous, almost as gorgeous as its female lead, relative newcomer Paula Patton who looks like a cross between Alicia Keys and Diana Ross. She moves through the world of Idlewild with the charm of a leading lady. I hope we will see more of this stunning performer in something more than her previous work such as Hitch.
Speaking of screen goddesses, Cicely Tyson has a quiet little cameo that rocks the film. She has the kind of face that you just canít look away from and her brief but powerful scene is a memorable moment that sticks with you long after the credits roll.
The weakness of Idlewild is the music. Itís certainly not the best work OutKast has done. While most of the songs are fun, there are few, if any, that grab you and refuse to let go. Itís a musical and much of what a musical hangs on is the music. You gotta be singing the songs as you leave the cinema and thatís unlikely with Idlewild.
Still, as a film, Idlewild is fascinating to watch. You can tell the film makers loved what they were doing. The inexperienced director, Bryan Barber has shown a great deal of strength and talent after having broken out of directing videos. I hope he sticks to film and builds on what heís done with Idlewild.