"The Commitments" is a raucous and joyful celebration of music. It's a gloriously simple and lovable tale, told with passion, profanity, and a deep understanding of how music can infect even the most despairing life with joy. About time the movie got its proper release on DVD.
If you've never seen "The Commitments" because you cringe at the notion of white Dubliners singing American soul tunes, well, I hear ya. I fully expected watered-down music along the lines of Michael Bolton butchering Percy Sledge. However, I was wrong - the music, in the context of the movie, is pure and genuine, and performed by young actors who understand that you don't have to pretend to be anything you're not to get soul. Besides, Jimmy Rabbitte, the mastermind behind the band, gives them all a thoroughly convincing speech that assures the lads and lasses from Dublin that they, too, are qualified to sing soul.
The movie - well, it's wonderful. Hilarious, free, sometimes moving, life-affirming. I almost wish the movie let the characters develop a little more before the inevitable and mythical ending, but then Joey the Lips gently reminds me (and Rabbitte), "this way, it's poetry." He's right - this is the proper ending for these guys, and the movie.
The DVD offers some great extras, including a revealing making-of doc, where we learn that director Parker combed the nightclubs of Dublin nightly, looking for fresh talent. I also love the 10-years-later feature, where we get to revisit our old friends again. These are suitable extras for a movie that just plain makes you feel glad to be alive - how much more can you ask of a movie than that?