#REVIEW: “GET ON UP”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Whether you are a Fan of Soul or Funk, surely you’ve heard of James Brown. New Biopic Get On Up ultimately is a rewarding experience even if you know little about The Godfather of Soul. And surely if you don’t know Chadwick Boseman, who plays James here, the Movie will make you a Fan. Get On Up will have you dancing in your seats and enthralled the entire time.
The Movie focuses entirely on James – his struggles and demons. These struggles are present themselves pre and post-stardom. As an Child, his Mother, Susie (Viola Davis), leaves him and his Father, Joe (Lennie James) – whom he is raised by mostly – subjects him through much abuse. After joining the Army, the eventual Star is left in the care of Aunt Honey (Octavia Spencer). James finds himself turning to a life of crime once. The turning point in his life however is where he meets his Soulmate and Collaborator Bobby Byrd (Nelsan Ellis). Together, they create The Famous Flames, later to be known as James Brown and His Famous Flames. The demons within James drive him to isolation and this is when his life began to fall apart right before our eyes.
Get On Up does have some flaws with its pacing at points, but the performances are undeniable. Boseman‘s stands out most. He truly shines dramatically and musically (that voice!), proving he is a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. He makes breaking through that illusive Fourth Wall look flawless and effortless! As well, Ellis’ performance reminds me exactly why I stuck through HBO‘s True Blood. Fantastic. Although he delivers a strong performance, he certainly does not steal the spot light from Chadwick. Dan Aykroyd also plays James‘ Manager Ben Bart with precision which says a lot considering the superb caliber of work elicited by Director Tate Taylor.
The Title alone says it all. You will want to Get On Up out of your seats and take a little time to get to know James Brown. Get your best moves on – by far the funkiest time you’ll have at the Movies this Summer!
Universal Pictures Canada release Get On Up on Friday, August 1st, 2014