Completely misunderstood by most, this movie is a must-see for anyone who can appreciate it for what it is: one of the best depictions of how we choose to control our individual lives.
Many saw the product logos embedded in the scenes in the movie and thought that a movie trying to make a statement about commercialization was hypocritical - missing the point that none of the "product placement" was paid for.
People who saw the quick rise to stardom missed the point - that the band's popularity was manufactured overnight through hype and influence. Vaporware before Vaporware was a thing.
Don't take my word for it. Watch the movie yourself - but with an open mind.
Try not to miss the point of the movie, but if you do, that's okay.
Pretty much everyone else did.
SOF is movie that makes its mission statement clear at the beginning: "A Rock & Roll Fable". This is a Rock and Roll retelling of one of the oldest stories in western civilization. This is the Tale of Helen of Troy, played as a Western (or possibly Samurai movie) almost-musical.
SOF is not an art-house movie. There is no pretense of social relevance. There is no pretense of intellectualism. There is no message about what the world is like, or what it should be. This is not prog-rock or punk. This is simply Rock & Roll.
The hero is an anti-hero who knows his limitations - he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, but he knows how to throw a punch, he knows how to shoot a gun, and he know how to swing what he really is: a sledgehammer.
SOF is all about neon reflected in wet puddles on dark streets, loud music, explosions, and cardboard cutout characters kissing in the rain.
In a good way.
The visuals are dazzling, the music is loud, and Diane Lane's iconic lip-synched opening and closing bookend performances are probably burned into the psyches of anyone who watched the movie.
"We're going nowhere fast..." is a lyric that may have predicted the movie‘s box office performance, and critical performance, but who can deny that "...everybody's goin' nowhere slowly, they're only fighting for the chance to be last, there's nothin' wrong with goin' nowhere, baby,
but we should be goin' nowhere fast"!
Coz tonight is what it means to be young!
When a movie shows that Mutually Assured Destruction through possession of nuclear weaponry is the only way to peace, and the movies arguments are laid out logically and rationally, and presented in a slick-as-can-be package such as "Steel Rain", what does that say about the Pre-Covid world?
This tale of how Koreans of three worlds, the North, the South, and ethnic Koreans of the People's Republic of China, can recognize commonality as Koreans, is a paean to the idea of ethnic nationality and brotherhood.
Another message the movie tries to convey, by showing as well as saying, is "the citizens of a divided nation suffer more from those who seek to manipulate the division for their own ends than they do from the division itself".
This is something that the US audience needs to hear, considering our current political climate.
Unfortunately, since the US is a country based on ideals and ideas instead of on ethnicity, the message, while appropriate to the situation, will fall on ears that are divided by ideals and ideas.
That is an irony lost on the US presence in the movie - the American bureaucrats, spies, and military cannot see Korea with the lens that Koreans may be able to because we Americans see each other as hyphens and others, and not as sisters and brothers.
Take Phantom of the Opera, add a bit of Faust, a pinch of Frankenstein, a dollop of Dorian Gray, some ‘50s rock and roll, some beach boys surfer sounds, a touch of glam rock mixed with goth and metal, police corruption, capitalism, exploding cars, Music industry corruption, drugs, sex, female empowerment, male chauvinism, sexism, drag, bikers, casting couches, a prototype Darth Vader, death, disfiguration, dismemberment plus a moral that castigates Music fans as lemmings, and would be musical stars as willing enablers if the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, and you have Phantom of the Paradise.
And Beef! Don't forget the well-done Beef!
Once you accept the uncanny valley, and accept the inconsistencies in scale of the cats and their world, this movie works, and works well!
Cinema asks that you accept the world the film exists in, and once you do that, you will be lost in the world of the Jellicle cats.
If people can suspend their disbelief in the physics of Star Wars, how hard can it be to accept the Jellicle cats?