James Brown is a singer who whilst I know a small collection of his songs I really know very little about. This was made only more apparent to me as I watched Get On Up, the biopic of Mr Brown himself.
Get On Up seems to do a good job at spanning the entire life of James Brown however due to my lack of knowledge about the singer the validity of the portrayal is something I can’t really comment on one way or the other. Although the way in which it was presented is something I can and unfortunately I didn’t think much of it. The film jumps between different times of Browns life throughout the film, this made it quite difficult to follow the film especially near the beginning of the movie. I also didn’t care much for the few occasions when Brown directly addresses the audience, I found this quite puzzling because it was a biopic, maybe they were just trying to bring a bit of Scorsese into the mix! There were quite a number of points in the movie where Brown is quite hard to understand, this was probably due to a good portrayal of the man however I think something needed to be changed for the purposes of a movie, saying that for the majority of the movie it wasn’t a massive problem. I thought the film needed more of a focus though, like The Imitation Game. In that we see the biopic of Alan Turing however it is set to the backdrop of a plot and we learn about Turings life through that story. I think this may have worked better here, maybe if the story would have focused on the recording of one album and built the biography around that it could have been improved?
Anyway despite all my qualms with the film I did enjoy it. The personal highlight for me was the scene which saw Brown perform Get On Up. I enjoyed this because it genuinely felt like I was just watching Brown perform. I think there should have been more musical sequences like this and I liked that this one was allowed to play out in full. Get On Up had a strange effect on me, I went in not minding that I knew very little about James Brown however after seeing the movie I am actually really glad I saw it and it has awakened a steady interest in me for the singer. I thought that Chadwick Boseman did a really good job in this role and as I said I can’t vouch for his likeness to the man himself but I thought his acting in general was pretty awesome. He was consistent in his portrayal and he convinced me in terms of his validity. The film should appeal to all those with an interest in music but of course it goes much deeper than that. There are plenty of themes running through the film and whilst none are really explored in greater detail than any of the others it feels like quite a rounded picture.
So even though I didn’t think much of the way Get On Up was presented to its audience I was glad that I saw the film. It is certainly informative which would suggest that it is a triumph it terms of its biopic genre. There are some great musical scenes in the movie and I’m sure that after seeing this movie you will have a greater interest in at least one or more of the issues or themes raised in the film.
BIGGEST FLAW – It jumped around too much
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – The Get On Up performance scene
Rating – 7/10