Saturday, December 10, 2005

Rent (**1/2)

I thought I would hate this one. Having never seen Rent on stage nor heard any of its music, I went in with a fresh, if somewhat cynical, mind. After all, my impression of the show was exactly in line with Team America's parody: "Everyone has Aids." Turns out, everyone does. Thankfully, Rent doesn't dwell on that fact (take note Angels in America) and is more concerned with its characters. That's the real strength of both the show and the movie. It has fully realized characters, and quality actors portraying them. This probably works better as a stage show than a movie though. The biggest problem would be the gritty atmosphere and events on screen. When paired with corny electric guitar riffs and wholly "theatrical" singing, it just doesn't mesh well. Rosario Dawson, meanwhile, is fantastic as Mimi. She has a really cool-sounding singing voice and has all the best songs. In fact, Rent itself works best as a one act show. The first act is terrific: tightly focused, great music, wonderful energy. Then everything goes wrong in the second half. The plot kicks in, the songs drop off, and some unfortunate choices from director Chris Columbus rise to the forefront. A lot of this film is laughable and outdated, but credit to the filmmakers and great cast (most of them anyway--Yup, I'm talking to you Adam Pascal) for trying something different.


At 10:58 PM, Blogger karen said...

Come on, doesn't Jesse L. Martin deserve at least an honorable mention? And also the mountain in Santa Fe, for completely opposite reasons.


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