Rated: R for a great deal of foul language. Reviewed by: Frank and Chris Release date: August 28, 1991
Directed by Alan Parker, The Commitments is a journey through Dublin, Ireland, with 11 young musicians and their manager as they form together, struggle, succeed and break up.
Most of the cast is young and unknown to American audiences. They were selected through advertising in newspapers in Dublin. In the film they come from poor families in Dublin who live in deteriorated housing on streets littered with old cars and trash. The bank may be their only chance to force a space for them in the larger world outside of their neighborhood. Like many poor families in any large city, they have many siblings and little hope for a better life. The bank brings excitement and notoriety from friends and relatives.
Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) is the manager, he pulls the talent together and cements the interest of the male members by drawing Imelda Quirke (Angeline Ball), a pretty blond, into the group. Rabbitte deals for space to practice and finds equipment cheap from a questionable dealer. Each member is an interesting character, but finest moments in the film come from the performances of the group. They perform 60's soul songs. In all there are 52 different songs and 68 different musical cues. No matter what taste one has in music, when the band gets going the audience is drawn into the rhythm and performance. The sound track fills the theater with instrument sounds and the voices of the three women and the lead singer Deco Cuffe, 16-year-old Andrew Strong.
The Commitments doesn't reach for phony dramatic events; it is a realistic portrait of the difficulties of starting a band and the conflicts which create barriers to success. It is also a joyful celebration of soul music presented in a manner which will excite even the most conservative music connoisseur. For an enjoyable evening of film and music, make The Commitments.