Cadillac Records Reviews
I suppose the lesson of this biopic is that when one isn't racist in a racist world, one stands to benefit. That is the only discernible advantage that Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) has over others, yet we don't know enough about Chess or why he is as he is.
A commonality among these characters is their penchant for extramarital sex, but Chuck Berry's prison sentence notwithstanding, this behavior doesn't make a plot-driving point or a matter of serious conflict.
In the end, Cadillac Records is a music film, with the race relations subplot only tangential, so whether or not you like this film with depend upon whether you like the musical performances by Jeffrey Wright as Muddy Waters, Mos Def as Chuck Berry, and Beyonce Knowles as Etta James. I thought they were good, but I'm not a great judge.
Overall, the plot of this film doesn't do a lot - an odd combination of social commentary about 50s race relations and interpersonal affairs - but those of you who like the origins of rock n roll might find the performances, if not the story, compelling.
It was captivating, to say the least. If you love music and history, this film will keep you glued to the screen. As my friend said, he didn't want it to end, but it ended perfectly. I agree 100%. The actors in this film nailed it when they covered songs by Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry perfectly. Well written, directed and edited. The soundtrack was great.
Best scene was in the studio when Etta James just sang a song without any emotion in her first take. Len Chess stopped her cold and told her the story of the song, from her perspective. When she sang it again, she started crying and put everything into it. She nailed it and it illustrated just how important emotion is to the interpretation of music. Fantastic movie, go see it!
Good but not so great. Cadillac Records is narrated by songwriter Willie Dixon played by Cedric the Entertainer. The film needs a narrator to compensate for the lack of a strong story arc. Nonetheless, Cadillac Records is worth seeing for the music and the recreation of a bygone era. Just don't expect any drama that will knock your socks off!
In this tale of sex, violence, race, and rock and roll in 1950s Chicago, "Cadillac Records" follows the exciting but turbulent lives of some of America's musical legends, including Muddy Waters, Leonard Chess, Little Walter, Howlin' Wolf, Etta James and Chuck Berry.