The Commitments

This is probably Alan Parker’s best film, in part because it’s one of his most modest (1991). Following the brief career of a young white soul band in Dublin, it harks back in some ways to the youthful energies of Parker’s Fame, happily without the melodrama. The interactions of the ten-member group — including three female backup singers and an older sax player who romances them in turn while serving as the group’s guru — and the numbers themselves form the main bill of fare. Parker == working with a script by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, and Roddy Doyle, based on Doyle’s novel — keeps it all lively and watchable. If he can’t resist the occasional fancy or cutesy flourishes (e.g., a pair of twins who speak all their lines in unison) that tend to compromise his work, he still allows his material to exist on its own level and makes it fun to watch. With Robert Arkins, Michael Aherne, Angeline Ball, Maria Doyle, Johnny Murphy, and Dave Finnegan — a very appealing cast. (JR)

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