The Commitments - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Commitments Reviews

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August 12, 2017
I love this film and everything about it. It's a film about music and the characters communicate through music. When they don't, they fight. The characters do one or all three things: fight, sing, or play music. There are moments of group camaraderie followed by bickering which never seems confusing. We don't understand everything they're arguing about but we can see and get what their frustrations revolve around: being in close proximity with the Big Dream but having to deal with lesser people who could drag them down in the end.
These are, in a way, misfits, but they aren't played throughout as a band of misfits: they are good at what they do and they don't take long to gel with one another. The idea that seams far-fetched from the beginning that seems over these guys' heads actually becomes a reality. Some band members have ideas about soul and rock' n roll that are contrary to others' ideas, putting one more wedge into this potentially volatile mix of irregular musicians.
Alan Parker is one of the finest directors of all time, generating a mix of whimsical charm with violence and poetry, as well as satire and music in his films; Parker has a wide range of genres under his belt. This is one of his best.
June 28, 2017
The Commitments is a film about a band being formed in Dublin that decides to focus on bringing soul music to Ireland. There are a boatload of characters in this film, and I was very worried that it would suffer from bloat as it desperately tried to give all of them their own moment in the spotlight. However, I didn?t think that was a problem. Most of the characters had big personalities and they were established well just through their behavior and some dialogue. In fact the variety of characters in the band was one of the strongest points of the film. The other big plus in The Commitments was the music. While I might have enjoyed original music more than covers, I have to admit they sang some of the greatest soul music around, so it?s hard to complain. Sadly, what The Commitments had in characters and music, it lacked in story. There simply isn?t much that happens in this film. They form a band, they argue, they practice, they argue, they perform, and they argue. It?s rather repetitive and doesn?t seem to have any goal or end-point that it is aiming towards. Also, all that bickering among the band members grated on my nerves. I?m sure it?s a realistic look at what happens to the members of any band when they achieve some type of success, but it was miserable to watch. In general I kind of liked The Commitments simply because there were these long stretches where I could just enjoy great music, but it?s not one I?ll watch again because the story was weak and didn?t hold my interest.
½ June 1, 2017
best ost and great story my family is irish and i can see them in this the humour is killer
April 10, 2017
I saw it when it came out. Sat down and took a breath. I didn't let the breath out until the ending credits.
April 9, 2017
In the Northside of Dublin, Ireland, Jimmy Rabbitte is a young music fanatic who aspires to manage an Irish soul band in the tradition of 1960s African-American recording artists. He places an advert in the local newspaper and holds auditions in his parents' home. After being deluged by scores of disastrous performers, Jimmy decides to put together a band consisting of friends and people he encounters-lead singer Deco Cuffe, guitarist Outspan Foster, pianist Steven Clifford, saxophonist Dean Fay, bassist Derek Scully, drummer Billy Mooney, and female backup singers Bernie McGloughlin, Natalie Murphy and Imelda Quirke. Jimmy then meets Joey "The Lips" Fagan, a veteran musician who offers his services, and has unlikely stories about meeting and working with famous musicians. Joey names the band "The Commitments". After purchasing a drum set and acquiring a piano from Joey's mother, Jimmy secures the remainder of the band's musical equipment from Duffy, a black market dealer. The band rehearses on the second floor above a snooker hall, and after much practice, they convince a local church community centre to give them a gig, under the pretence of it being an anti-heroin campaign. Jimmy then hires Mickah Wallace, a hot-tempered bouncer, to act as the band's security. The band draws a good crowd, but after Deco inadvertently hits Derek with his microphone stand, the amplifiers explode, resulting in a power outage. Tensions run high among the band members, as Joey begins seducing Imelda, Natalie and Bernie, and Deco grows increasingly obnoxious and unruly. The band performs at another venue where, at the end of one song, Billy accidentally knocks over his hi-hat cymbals, leading to a heated argument between him and Deco. Billy leaves the band in fear of going to jail if he beats up Deco-much to Jimmy's frustration-and Mickah replaces him as the band's drummer. Will the continued tension within the band end what could´ve been a musical success?...

Roddy Doyle, author of the 1987 novel, praised the film, stating that Parker and the filmmakers did a "terrific job". Variety magazine called the film "well-executed and original", praising the performances, and the editing by Gerry Hambling.Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader wrote, "If [Parker] can't resist the occasional fancy or cutesy flourishes ... that tend to compromise his work, he still allows his material to exist on its own level and makes it fun to watch." Hal Hinson of The Washington Post wrote that the film was "a deadly funny movie; nearly every scene is broken off with a punch line. But Parker's sense of comedy is organic; he never lets the jokes elbow the characters, or the music, out of the spotlight." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote, " ... Parker has loosened up quite a bit here, not forcing the action as much as he did in the similar Fame and bringing a surprisingly loony touch to characters like Jimmy's Elvis-obsessed father." Time magazine reviewer Richard Corliss wrote, "The film offers no message, no solutions, only a great time at the movies." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, " ... the movie is filled with life and energy, and the music is honest." On the syndicated television program Siskel & Ebert At the Movies, Ebert gave the film a "Thumbs Up" rating, while his colleague, Gene Siskel, gave the film a "Thumbs Down". Siskel, writing for the Chicago Tribune, stated that the film was "a joyful but empty mixture of Irish kids and black American soul music". Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly criticized the overall premise as being "downright insulting", explaining, "In Parker's hands, soul music becomes little more than a self-serving metaphor - an easy symbol for 'commitment' and integrity. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, " ... the predictable way in which the band's nine men and three women argue about music, sex and fame robs the story of urgency." Janet Maslin of The New York Times stated, "The Commitments becomes repetitive after a while, since so much of it is about the group's stage show, and since the effort to create an off-stage story never really works." David Denby of New York Magazine wrote the film has "a raspy surface authenticity and a great deal of affection for its characters and milieu but not much dramatic interest."

When "The Commitments" came out in 1991 it truly made an impact on me, both story wise and music wise. Alan Parkers bunch of real life musicians with more or less no acting to their cv:s manage to enlighten all the characters in such a believable way and what we get to see is a fine ensemble piece despite some wobbly acting every once in a while during the film. Andrew Strong as the lead singer Deco, who was only 16 when the film was made, stands out with his amazing voice, but the rest of The Commitments manage as well to add life, music and layers to the story. The setting of a working class Northern Dublin feels realistic and the environments becomes a vital part of the film. But, the main star is of course all the great Dublin soul we get to see and hear in the film that is of high class, which spawned two hugely successful soundtrack albums you never get tired of. I reckon I could go on forever in my review, but I will let the film speak for itself. See it if you haven´t or re-see it if you have.
February 22, 2017
forgot how much I love this film
Super Reviewer
½ November 27, 2016
You know, it's a great thing this movie came with subtitles or else I honestly would have had no idea what any of the actors were saying. Especially in the scenes where they're all talking over each other or arguing about whatever it is they argued about. And, let me tell you, there's a lot of the latter in this movie. The problem comes in the fact that the Netflix subtitles, for one reason or another, after a certain point, were like a couple of seconds behind the actual dialogue going on in the film. Now, unless it was a scene between two people and both spoke clearly, it was really difficult to keep up during the arguments, when everybody's saying something but you can't make out any of it because of the fact that the subtitles haven't caught up yet. This happened to me a lot on Amazon Prime, but Amazon Prime was considerably worse, sometimes it'd be 10 seconds behind the actual dialogue. I couldn't have watched this movie on Amazon Prime with the subtitles 10 seconds behind the dialogue. It would have been impossible. And, really, that's part of the reason why I didn't give this film a higher rating than the one I gave it. I mean I got the gist of what they were saying even though I was playing catch up for most of the flick. But it's also possible that I would have given this movie the exact same rating even if the subtitles were right on time. With that said, I still thought that this was a damn good movie regardless with a lot of great musical performances. Maybe too many musical performances for my liking. And what I mean by that is that they didn't pace them out as well as they could have. Sometimes you'd have two straight performances back-to-back. And there's nothing wrong with that in the way that the band is actually great and the performances are actually pretty damn excellent. But, and this was something that I felt was a problem with The Nightmare Before Christmas, is that there's not a good balance of song-to-story. And that's really just as important as the performances themselves, maybe even more important as these scenes are meant to build up the characters, their relationships and their personalities. And, like I said, the movie just doesn't find a great balance between these elements and I do believe that it detracts from what would have been a great movie regardless. I do very much like the story that the movie tells with this band, a local band that performs covers of old school soul songs, finding a bit of success and the respective members of the band letting that success go to their head. Either that or it's interpersonal arguments between people in the band who just don't like each other for whatever reason. I like that because, and I'm not saying it's something that happens to every major band, but when you think about most successful bands, you usually imagine the fact that they hate each other and they drive in separate tour buses like Motley Crue or KISS when they reunited the original band in 1996. So to see that happen on a considerably smaller level was actually real entertaining. The Commitments weren't even successful on a national level, they were successful in the Dublin area. So seeing them tear each other apart from the inside out, not even taking into consideration how great of a band they are, was interesting to see. The acting and writing are more than solid as well, so no complaints there whatsoever. I don't really know what else to say honestly. The musical performances are the definite highlights of the movie, but I wish there would have been a stronger focus on the narrative and the personal issues between the band members that forced them to pretty much split up by the end of the film. At least as far as the protagonist tells it, since he interviews himself throughout the film, telling the story of the band. He could very well have been making all of the post-breakup events for the band members. Anyway, I still really liked this movie in spite of the issues I had with it. It's a damn good movie and I would give it an easy recommendation if you have Netflix.
October 25, 2016
This is a really fun movie, nothing complicated, just enjoyable fun :-)
½ October 6, 2016
"The Commitments" is an enthralling behind-the-music look at a fictional soul band that runs wild with energy, passion, humor, and, of course, great music.
May 22, 2016
Dublin, Ireland. Local entrepreneur Jimmy Rabbitte is putting a band together (which he will manage). Through friends, contacts, auditions and blind luck he puts together his band - The Commitments. He decides what music they will play - soul. We see how the pieces come together, the auditions, the skepticism from his parents, their first rehearsal, how things start to come together and their first few gigs. We also see the relationships in the band, particularly the friction. Soon they are standing on the threshold of stardom.

Wonderfully funny and entertaining with a fantastic soundtrack

Great plot, based on a book by Roddy Doyle, showing how the average band forms and develops and the internal turmoil. Wonderful dialogue and scenes - incredibly funny, with quotable lines coming thick and fast.

However, the thing that tips the movie over from great to masterpiece is the music. Fantastic music, well made and produced with some great concert scenes to add to the vibe.

Performances from a cast of then-unknowns are spot-on. Great casting, as director Alan Parker would have been going out on a limb with many of them.

Wonderfully vibrant and funny, yet profound, movie.
½ October 1, 2015
Boring and unengaging. Music isn't great and the characters aren't likeable.
August 19, 2015
Una de esas películas músicales tan típicas de los noventa, pero que nos ofrece una graciosa y triste historia de lo que pudo ser y nunca fue. Una especie de radiografía que muestra lo difícil que es tener un grupo, especialmente en el Dublín de los 90.

Las actuaciones son más que correctas, pero sin duda la palma se la llevan Robert Artkins y Johnny Murphy. La fotografía retrata esplendidamente el Dublín de la época. Y la música es poco menos que exquisita.

Un "must see" para los melómanos.
July 13, 2015
Best movie ever where can I buy it!?!
June 17, 2015
The Commitments [Ireland, 1991] I hope its humour is as rich as its musical soundtrack. 6/10
June 15, 2015
A wonderful movie full of great music, twist and turns and life. A MUST SEE
April 1, 2015
The rise and fall of a fictional band is fun with great music with a gritty smell.
March 6, 2015
One of my favorite movies of all time. Music is unbelievable!
January 5, 2015
Between a 7/10 and 8/10, it's a celebration of black soul one of the whitest places on Earth.
December 14, 2014
One of the best 'music movies' ever filmed, with the best live performance EVER! (Try a little tenderness)
September 25, 2014
Despite the cockney brogue, and the unfiltered language, this tough, gritty British-style comedy is a joyous hoot.

An original story set in bleak hard-times, and how a few people pull together to form a band thru personal struggles, rookie mistakes and only scrapping to compensate for naivety.

The rewards they get for their efforts are great music and fiery, cohesive performances that culminate into this uplifting, hilarious, unusually unforgettable American soul music send up from an unusual place - Ireland.
And magically, it works perfectly - firing on all cylinders.
Enjoy this foul-mouthed romp of scrappy performances, glorious 60s soul music, and a well crafted story that brings it all together.

I'd have loved to see the band of actors who took to touring,
based on the success of their movie.

4 out of 5 James-Brown-style Shouts
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