The Commitments

Critics Consensus

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88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 43

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 28,377
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Movie Info

"The Irish are the blacks of Europe, Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland, and the North Siders are the blacks of Dublin ... so say it loud -- I'm black and I'm proud!" Or so Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) tells his slightly puzzled friends as he tries to assemble a rhythm & blues show band in a working class community in Dublin in Alan Parker's film The Commitments. Jimmy is a would-be music business wheeler and dealer, and he's decided what Dublin needs is a top-shelf soul band. However, top-shelf soul musicians are hard to find in Dublin, so he has to make do with what he can find. However, after a long round of auditions, Jimmy makes two inspired discoveries: Deco (Andrew Strong), an abrasive and alcoholic streetcar conductor who nevertheless has a voice like the risen ghost of Otis Redding, and Joey "The Lips" Fagan (Johnny Murphy), a horn player who knows soul music backwards and forwards and claims to have played with everyone from Wilson Pickett to Elvis Presley. Before long, the band -- called the Commitments -- is packing them in at local clubs. But do they have what it takes to make the big time? Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle, who also co-wrote the screenplay, The Commitments is sparked by fine performances by its young cast and enthusiastic performances of a number of '60s soul classics; the cast, who play their own instruments, reassembled the band for a concert tour after the film became a hit.

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Cast

Robert Arkins
as Jimmy Rabbitte
Michael Aherne
as Steven Clifford
Glen Hansard
as Outspan
Dick Massey
as Billy Mooney
Johnny Murphy
as Joey `The Lips' Fagan
Kenneth McCluskey
as Derek Scully
Andrew Strong
as Deco Cuffe
Colm Meaney
as Mr. Rabbitte
Anne Kent
as Mrs. Rabbitte
Andrea Corr
as Sharon Rabbitte
Gerard Cassoni
as Darren Rabbitte
Ruth Fairclough
as Linda Rabbitte
Lindsay Fairclough
as Tracey Rabbitte
Ger Ryan
as The Pawnbroker
Mark O'Regan
as Father Molloy
Phelim Drew
as Roddy the Reporter
Sean Hughes
as Dave from Eejit Records
Aoife Lawless
as Imelda's Sister
Lance Daly
as Kid with Harmonica
Conor Malone
as Protest Song Singer
Jezz Bell
as Heavy Metal Singer
Colm Mac Con Iomaire
as Fiddler Auditioner
Emily Dawson
as Punk Girl Singer
Dave Kane
as Coconuts Trio Member
Kristel Harris
as Coconuts Trio Member
Maria Place
as Coconuts Trio Member
Brian Mac Aodha
as Uileann Pipe Player
Tricia Smith
as Les Miserables Singer
Canice William
as Smiths' Song Singer
Patrick Foy
as Cajun Trio Member
Alan Murray
as Cajun Trio Member
Jody Campbell
as Cajun Trio Member
Eanna MacLiam
as Failed Drug Buyer
Philomena Kavanagh
as Rabbitte's Neighbor
Peter Rowen
as Shy Skateboard Auditioner
Eamon O'Connor
as Only De Lonely Singer
Maura O'Malley
as Joey's Mother
Blaise Smith
as Pool Hall Manager
Derek Herbert
as Duffy's Sidekick
Owen O'Gorman
as Duffy's Sidekick
Pat Leavy
as Unemployment Official
John Cronin
as Kid with Horse
Rynagh O'Grady
as Bernie's Mother
Sheila Flitton
as Church Cleaner
John Michael Bolger
as Community Centre Kid
Mick Nolan
as Imelda's Father
Eileen Reid
as Imelda's Mother
Bob Navan
as Regency Pub Barman
Derek Duggan
as Photographer
Paddy O'Connor
as Rock Salmon Man
Paul Bushnell
as Avante-Garde-A-Clue Band Member
Jim Corr
as Avante-Garde-A-Clue Band Member
Larry Hogan
as Avante-Garde-A-Clue Band Member
Bernard Keelan
as Avante-Garde-A-Clue Band Member
Ronan Hardiman
as Dance Hall Manager
Mikel Murfi
as Music Journalist
Josylen Lyons
as Deco's Fan
Winston Dennis
as Man in Limousine
Alan Parker
as Eejit Record Producer
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News & Interviews for The Commitments

Critic Reviews for The Commitments

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for The Commitments

  • Nov 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.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 18, 2015
    That dude has some pipes
    Spencer M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2010
    In the tradition of <i>Waking Ned Devine</i> and <i>The Full Monty</i>, this is a delightful, optimistic ensemble piece from across the pond. While there are few conflicts in between the characters, the main conflict that drives the film forward is understated - people wanting to succeed in an world that doesn't assent. There is little in the way of comedy, "littler" in the way of drama, and too many musical sequences for my taste, but it's hard to fault the movie for any of these things. Suffice to say that I mildly enjoyed the experience of watching this film, and there's little to complain about.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 13, 2010
    The Commitments is a faux band-bio that is a great way to spend an evening watching a film. This genre has been done many times, but Alan Parker's film is the most organic and realistic of any I've ever seen. It's got some great music, intercut with sharply written dialogue, and that's strewn with working-class Dubliner expletives that are both amusing and authentic. The background of Dublin is captured perfectly in Parker's lens, and the editing and scene choices are a complex mosaic of the lives of the characters. It's so well done, you barely notice how much is going on, and how much subtext is in ever look, ever word and glance. It's really well done. casting is perfect. There are many characters that make up the band, and they're all distinct and interesting. The writing and direction brings them so alive, you'd swear you know some of them as friends (or foes) of yours. The struggles of the various characters are easy to understand and bond with, and how the music they make is when they are truly alive. The other beautiful thing about The Commitments is how beautifully unglamorous the whole situation is. The people are imperfect humans with enough talent to be able to rise above their rather squalid existence. You really hope they make it, even though you know not everything will be rosy in the end. If you love music (even if you're not a soul fan) you'll love the message and spiritual feeling of The Commitments. Recommended for all you eejits.
    Mark K Super Reviewer

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