x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Film review: Jersey Boys

Clint Eastwood gives the film a melancholic tone that’s akin to his Oscar-winning film Million Dollar Baby.

John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. Courtesy Warner Bros, Keith Bernstein / AP Photo
John Lloyd Young as Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys. Courtesy Warner Bros, Keith Bernstein / AP Photo

Jersey Boys

Director: Clint Eastwood

Stars: John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza and Christopher Walken

Four stars

If you strip away the songs, many musicals, especially those that have been successfully adapted to the silver screen, such as Chicago and Guys and Dolls, contain many of the elements for which Clint Eastwood is famed: petty criminals, questionable relationships, machismo and an emphasis on loyalty and trust. The same goes for Jersey Boys, a drama based on the life of the crooner Franki Valli (John Lloyd Young showing on screen why he was such a smash on stage), whose voice enables him to escape a life of crime.

What’s interesting is how Eastwood breaks with genre conventions and reinvents the musical as a character study, placing the emotional drama at the forefront, with the songs almost coming as a by-product. He gives the film a melancholic tone that’s akin to his Oscar-winning film Million Dollar Baby. While not entirely successful, it is intriguing to see the director valiantly try to veer musicals away from simply being a few lines of dialogue used to set up grandiose song numbers.

artslife@thenational.ae