Sweet and Lowdown Reviews
Sean Penn is cartoonish but still superb as Emmett, showing the full range of emotions in this gifted man-child. That being said, it's very difficult to watch a swarthy jerk who is so putrid of a human being knowing that he'll never be redeemed or punished. Woody's nihilism tends to make unlikable people even more unforgivable and in the 3rd act he tells 3 differing versions of an ending to simply make the point how irrelevant an ending is to the story by saying "at least we have the music." Great acting, and well made, and one of the most beautiful soundtracks I've ever heard. Still...a feel-bad movie.
I really enjoyed this movie. Sean Penn really put in a brilliant performance along with the other actors who contributed into making this movie a great watch. Throughout the movie you see people telling there own stories about the talented Emmet Ray, including Woody Allen who had wrote and directed this movie extremely well. I hadn't heard of this talented guitarist before watching this film so I found this movie interesting and enjoyable. In the film, Emmet Ray was a completely different person when he was playing his guitar to when he was womanising and breaking hearts. Mixed with his outrageous spending habits and his addiction to stealing, there is enough drama throughout the movie to keep you entertained. The main shocking aspect to the film has to be Sean Penn's guitar playing. Woody Allen made a point of showing the audience that it was actually Sean Penn playing the guitar so I have to tip my hat to Penn for learning such a difficult, unique way of playing the instrument. Anyway, if you know of Emmet Ray then its definitely worth a watch and its also worth watching just for entertainment. Watchable!
Emmet Ray really did have a weird and wonderful life. From dating a mute, falling into a house with loads of cash and marrying a lady who he didn't really know, he really lived each day as it comes. His random unpredictable lifestyle made everyone around him wonder if he would have been a better guitarist if he got his life together, but he never thought that he had a problem. He was a very cocky individual that had his head in the stars, which is why the concept for the film was so good. Sean Penn really did play his role well along with Samantha Morton who played the mute convincingly. The only thing is that you don't really know what truly happened in some of the scenes because his life was documented. People throughout the movie are using hearsay more than evidence about the mans life, which is made obvious when you hear there stories about the man. Anyway, enough said, watch the film.
Worldwide Gross: $4.2million
I recommend this movie to people who are into there Woody Allen movies which follows events in Emmet Rays life, who was a talented guitarist with personal issues. 7/10
The story in Sweet and Lowdown is decent because it touches on elements that musicians don't normally touch on, but also does explore a lot of basic territory which fails to contrast it from so many other musician drama films, except that this one is presented in a realistic manner like Warren Beatty's biographical epic Reds. The story just really doesn't carry the interesting heft of many films like it, and people not accustomed to director Woody Allen's brand of humour will find it strange and somewhat awkward. I'm still adjusting to it, and I didn't find it funny or all that charming either. His directorial work was good, but his script wasn't as clever or funny as many of his other ones, and the story isn't hat original.
The visual style of Sweet and Lowdown was good, because the footage maintains a strong visual experience with beautiful footage of old cars, trains and the waterfront of a pier all shot with fine cinematography, but that makes Sweet and Lowdown more memorable for its style than for its substance. I honestly found it to be largely repetitive with protagonist Emmet Ray just going through the same troubles again and again until he finally broke in the final scene. The final scene in the film is great, but there isn't really substantial interest building up to it so it's more effective than what comes before it. It's an odd experience, because it's a powerful climax matching insufficient buildup, and usually it's the other way around.
I don't know if Sweet and Lowdown is meant to be a satirical pseudo-biopic like This is Spinal Tap, but I failed to pick up on that and honestly just didn't feel entertained. I didn't feel the Woody Allen charm, and it just didn't get me or enthral me.
But I will say that Sweet and Lowdown gained the benefit of Sean Penn's fine lead performance. Maintaining a constant sense of visual sophistication and charm yet countering it with a sense of inner torment, Sean Penn finds the perfect balance to ensure that he portrays musician Emmet Ray with all the ideal spirit and charismatic energy, as well as the actual skill for playing guitar very finely. Sean Penn really has the soul of a musician in Sweet and Lowdown, and he does shine.
Samantha Morton also manages to supply a fine supporting performance as the mute Hattie by really convincing us that she is unable to speak and having a strong language in her physicality to back it up.
Uma Thurman and John Waters also manage to give fine performances.
So Sweet and Lowdown looks good and is well acted, but it's story is full and it's sense of humour is too odd.