A Private War
Crazy Rich Asians
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All Critics (25)
| Top Critics (15)
| Fresh (18)
| Rotten (7)
"Memphis" is poetry.
Even those who find it a bore will agree it's a pleasure to look at, and not only because Beal cleans up nicely as a suit-wearing slacker in a snappy chapeaux.
The film feels like a sketch rather than a portrait, beautifully rendered but incomplete in the details.
The film is less than 80 minutes and if you cut the shots that go on too long it would be less than an hour.
Tim Sutton's second feature, starring the young contemporary musician Willis Earl Beal as a musician with the same name, captures the mood of the blues with pitch-perfect sensuality.
"Memphis" is a gorgeous, gorgeous movie-the kind that prompts critics to say "every frame could be a painting"-but it is also proof that the woozy, opaque mode of American independent filmmaking has its limits.
There's a self-awareness to both Sutton's direction and Willis' performance that deflates some of the potential pretentiousness from the proceedings.
Beal is an excellent choice of lead, managing to hold the viewer's attention without ever coming across as so charismatic or dynamic that we question Willie's lack of success.
...drifts between the earthy and the celestial, with a scratchily sublime soundtrack to match.
Its metabolism may be unfamiliar, but this extraordinary movie has true rhythm, and true life.
'I created this,' Beal says early in the film. 'I imagined it into existence.' The words could be a manifesto for filmmakers, an articulation of the director's mission, particularly in the case of as singular a work as 'Memphis.'
It's a heartbreaking look at literally staggering genius.
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