If you’re going to be brave enough to make a two-hour homage to the golden days of the Hollywood musical you’d better make sure you get it right. So many films have fallen into the trap – Frankenweenie, The Man Who Wasn’t There and The Good German are just a few examples of films that have tried so hard so pay tribute to great movies, that they forgot to be a film in their own right. What Damien Chazelle (whiplash) has done here is produce a beautiful, witty, warm homage, but manage to take it in a completely unexpected direction without spoiling the film’s internal logic. It’s fun, yes, but there is a sting in the tail – a nasty sting.
From the opening sequence we know we’re in safe hands. Hundreds of cars are stuck on the freeway, so what else to do for the drivers but to burst into song and dance. It’s brilliantly choreographed and filmed, in what appears to be a single shot. It’s full of joy and sets the scene for the story to come. Somewhere in the traffic jam is Ryan Gosling’s Seb, and Emma Stone’s Mia, and their first meeting is not a romantic one. [Read more…]