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First feature starring Samuel L. Jackson (Gang Member No.2): isn't that reason enough to watch "Ragtime"? Well, probably not, so let me tell you more.
Good epic movie with different point of views, but as a symphony something is not completely right. I cannot really tell if its because something is missing, therefore should have been longer, or if its because they stretched some parts a bit too thin. Overall a nice period film with good costumes and settings.
The best movie character ever portrayed: Howard Rollins as Coalhouse Walker Jr.! And the best movie score ever composed!
Why is Ragtime neglected? A superbly designed, brilliantly acted (many roles filled by Hollywood legends of the past) and richly rewarding snapshot of a period in American history when racism, jazz and the birth of cinema coalesced. Milos Forman finds a dark humour in the most tragic sequences and once again proves himself a master of the larger canvas. Unjustly overlooked.
In a strange way, especially for a film so surprisingly straightforward, the scope here is both overwhelming-an enormous ensemble piece telling a set of often seemingly unrelated stories-and yet quite narrow, in that it sticks to and utterly nails a specific era, place, and peoples. When the film focuses in on those smaller details, when it scales somewhat back and away from its source material-from what I understand, Forman's adaptation tells only a small slice, one section of the novel-it is hard not to be caught up in the wonderful Randy Newman score, the lovely cinematography, and the minutia of the perfect production design. But at just over two-and-a-half hours in run time, those finer points get muddled and less charming as the narrative stretches on at a slackening toward a foregone and inevitable conclusion.
But what a powerful conclusion, made so much richer by its all-star performances. How timely a last shot (pun intended). How grisly a truth that, a century later, this is (still) America, land of the free and home of ragtime. As an allegory for my country-beautiful, overwhelming, violent, stuffy, racist, auspicious-Forman captures something hopeful in its brutality, a patriotic optimism that often comes strongest from the immigrants who strived so hard to get here. Perhaps that is a truth, that America is and always has been a country where murderous privilege mixes with blind opportunity, we need reminding of at this moment in our history
Doctorow's novel is a tricky thing to adapt, especially with its deliberately elusive ideas about America. Inevitably a lot of materiel was cut or truncated in this movie but there is a lot to admire in Forman's vision here. His focus on the characters inspires a lot of empathy, more than usual in these kinds of period pieces.
This is Milos Forman's first truly American film. But, like his other films, it is about the overarching connection of all people. Ragtime is a beautiful and endlessly entertaining portrait of the many comedies and tragedies of the turn of the century.
This movie made a huge impression on me as a youngman and is still relevent today as we are discussing the place of privilege in our society.
Wondering how this will look like as musical. Not bad as a movie 30 yo.
The problem with most of the reviews I've read about this film is they worry too much about the source material and what was left out. They lament how the film varies from the book, omitting details that, had they been included, would have pushed Ragtime to miniseries length, not a stand alone movie.
Taking the movie on its own merits, it is a masterfully coordinated collection of many characters (mostly fictional) whose lives intertwine in multiple ways. Where other movies beat you over the head pointing out such coincidences, Ragtime presents them with a subtlety you don't often experience in American cinema. All actors in the film deliver -- from legends like James Cagney to bit part players like Fran Drescher (of all people) -- and none quite so brilliantly as Howard Rollins who shines brightly here at the height of his short career.
I've always thought Ragtime is one of those special films -- underrated upon its release and a thing popular movie audiences don't quite know what to do with -- that will one day be considered a masterpiece. After recently watching it again after many years, I have no reason to think otherwise.
i saw this movie when i was a kid and watch it briefly tonight on TV, its still a great movie even today. The quality of film is amazing and this movie really made everything look original for its time. Fantastic movie