All That Jazz Reviews
Like Fosse the movies main character Joe Gideon is also a director Choregrapher and former dancer. Gideon is looking to direct a worthwhile broadway musical but he is also working on editing a Hollywood film. At the same time he is a heavy drinker and smoker. Gideon experiences many stressful days both in his professional life and personal life. It gets to the point where it where you wonder if he may actually die as he has continuous visions of the angel of death whom he confesses his secrets too.
The film as expected has a very jazzy 70's swagger to it. its probably the least musical esque film u'll ever see as it's more a character driven film. It does have the presumed musical numbers but it focuses more on how a director carries on life while dealing with the stress of making a musical production. It also takes time to delve right into the idea of death and kinda brings to life the idea of working one self to death.
Not to point out the obvious but it seems like every movement and every scene is choreographed like its done in a way like a rehearsal for a play. It's less a movie about being in the moment and more a film about getting each scene right which is quite a different way to direct. The mother daughter musical routine was really cute and shows how the movie also was really fun for the cast. To be honest all the numbers were dope. Overall bob fosse directs in a manner that resembles a stage play director and it really makes him stand out. The editing was excellent and so was the cinematography
Roy scheider delivers one of the most fascinating performances of his career here. he commands presence in each scene and brings a lot of ego and intrigue to this role of joe Gideon. Gideon is a a guy who is at the top of his game but deep down he struggles with trying to hold everything together. I like how this character study wasn't done overly dramatic but it still got that idea across.
I think this maybe my favorite musical along with Chicago. Go check this out especially if you love musicals.
Update: Rewatched this recently and I'm upping it a full star. Powerful, depressing and beautifully sardonic. Probably one of the most honest and truthfully representational biopics ever made.
This is a very brave film and it's such a brilliant achievement, it's so unique and once more, Fosse makes something hugely influential, his direction in this film was perfect, he was a man who knew his craft well. It had an awesome introduction and it was so fast, the film feels fully alive and, much like our main character, it just kept going. Like other Fosse works, the film is funny but in a very dark and cynical sense, the characters are very well written and the acting is perfect, Roy Scheider is perfect in the film and fully jumps into character, you truly believe the way his character ends up as the film goes on. Unbelievable to think that he wasn't nominated for an Oscar more times than he was, it's a shame. It is also smartly filmed and excellently edited, even though in just one or two scenes it seemed like it cut so quick that I couldn't understand what a character said or it seemed like they were cut off. Perhaps it was only done these few times on purpose as these were the only times I noticed and the editing did win an Oscar; although, it's funny, when films that have won an Oscar for editing I always seem to find an issue with it somewhere.
Joe mentions Kubrick at one time but this film did have a very Kubrick-esqe feel to it, the use of music playing in the background throughout an entire scene but having it compliment it as opposed to being a song used for a particular moment felt like something from a Kubrick film. There were a couple points in the film where it was a simple lullaby-sounding song and given what Joe was going through at that time, made it extra saddening. We see him editing 'Lenny' throughout the film but I thought it'd be funny if it was Dustin Hoffman we saw in that footage, but it was the original actor who played Lenny in the show but not in the film, but at least everything worked out, sort of. Although, Hoffman didn't mention Roy in his speech, when he was mentioning all the other nominees, oddly; but perhaps he forgot. It felt a little bit forced that the film deals with the death-obsessed character and he just so happened to be editing something where a character kept talking about death and it kept playing whenever something was going wrong. There isn't much you can do about that given the circumstances and what he was editing so it can't be called a coincidence.
I was a little confused at first as one of the 'fake' performances happens at the start for a little bit but nothing like that happened again, but that is until the excellent ending. I'm honestly quite surprised by what happened after an hour in this film, I had no idea what would happen next, the film was already dark but the way this film concludes it's like it was laughing into the abyss, whilst also being hugely sad. Fosse's films usually end rather suddenly but each film seems to end more suddenly than the last, this film slaps you in the fast so fast and then just ends that you are just in total shock by what just happened.
Once more, Bob Fosse makes a hugely entertaining, deep, funny, cynical and influential film, it's such a shame he only managed to make a handful of films but as this film shows, he was always busy but he did pretty well for himself with his films. This film probably should have won more Oscars, but as should many more films of 1979. 'All That Jazz' is a perfect film, with excellent performances, a perfect tone, excellent musical numbers and just embraces itself so much.
And that ending....oh gods, that ending number is so fabulously amazing. I think this might be the greatest musical I've ever seen.
Joe Gideon (Roy Schneider) is aging in his long and paramount career. As a man in love with the stage and never willing to invent a normal, strictly crowd-pleasing production, he has become exhausted; he works only with frenetic energy and is willing to stay up hours upon hours to perfect his goals. But all those years of light sleeping, pill-popping, alcohol consuming, womanizing, and smoking have finally caught up with him. Joe can barely handle it.
In "All That Jazz," Fosse's ideas are fearless, conveyed only in lightning speed. But only about half of them are thoroughly successful. His inhibitions are sometimes extremely dynamic, energetic, even touching, while others remain dynamic and energetic but lack that impassioned stinger.
Take the "Take Off with Us" sequence, for example. The scene sees Gideon previewing his planned dance numbers for his upcoming play to executives who are offensively conservative but scared of being, dare I say it, mean. The one that comes before "Take Off with Us" has all of that theatrical ambition of a "Fame" piece; the executives already have the feeling that they're witnessing moments from their newest blockbuster. But what follows turns the practice studio into a smoking orgy of choreography, dubbed "Airotica," leaving its dancers nearly nude, sweating profusely, and rumbling around in sexual energy. It's one of the best dance sequences I've ever seen in my life. It's the pinnacle of the film. Nothing truly follows it with that same brash excellence.
Fosse is a treasure in the world of Broadway and a sporadic genius in the movies. "All That Jazz" is his "8 1/2," both stylistically and in tone. In style, it's slightly Truffaut, unafraid to jump cut, use "natural" music, and combine the contempts of real life and the joys of fantasy. In tone, it's almost uncomfortable in its self-reflexiveness, as the film mirrors Fosse's life.
Yet in the end, "All That Jazz" is split down the middle between annoying self-indulgence and filmmaking brilliance. Fosse's boldness is easy to appreciate, but there are times when the film's in your face style leaves you with a headache rather than a new lease on life. But Schneider is terrific and so is Fosse's choreography; "All That Jazz" is the definition of a mixed bag, if there ever was one.
It's common for filmmakers to find a piece of themselves in the characters they create, but very few capture the biographical sense as intensely and as personally as Bob Fosse's All That Jazz. Biographical films are usually created at a time when the subject or figure that is explored has already firmly established their place in the world and some have already left our world, and the pieces we are left with to remember him/her by is the product or influence that they have left behind. All That Jazz pushes the expectations of the genre by telling a then present recount of his own life; as he was making this, he was going through the same issues as his protagonist, making the film seem much direr than what it actually is.
A sense of risk is felt when watching this particular character, slowly disintegrating through his destructive vices; but the character's flaws are not present for plot purposes, instead it is Fosse's way of crying for help. Though aware of one's own self-destructing nature, he is also aware that he is trapped by his ego, constantly hungry for perfection in order to gain that praise that allows personal satisfaction; as anybody who appreciates fine art, it is difficult to want this man to stop himself from his habits as his drive allows him to create the most beautiful of products, and it would be a shame if the public would not get the chance to see it. The film's dread and melancholy is undercut by the layer of satire that lingers on its surface; it almost seems like Fosse wants us to laugh at him because he himself is also laughing with us. He balances both of these tones wonderfully, not allowing one to dominate the other; depicting its characters and its emotions with a sense of reality.
All That Jazz's perfection also could have only been possible with Roy Scheider as the leading man, demonstrating a sense of intimacy in the way the character displays emotions, hiding the truth of himself behind his perfectionist persona; but what is most important is that the character feels human, we are watching an individual who has problems and handles them in such a flawed way, which in my opinion is humanistic. Scheider's most impressive moment was at the film's ending, where he hugs his daughter, and he looks into the eyes of his sad ex-wife, displaying tenderness without changing the tone of the scene; it was a moment that happen for only a second, yet it possesses the heaviness of something much longer.
All That Jazz captures the perfectionism qualities of humans accurately and effectively, never reaching for the melodramatic elements in order to make a sympathetic film. It also acts as a great representation of the darkness that many are not aware of within show business.