Thursday, November 24, 2005

Rent Review - 2 out of 5

A couple of years ago I saw a touring production of Rent as it passed through town and I wasn't particularly impressed by the production. When I heard they were making a film I must say that I wasn't exactly eager to go see it, but with free tickets in hand and a wife who was excited I broke down and went.

I have to give Kudos to the performers in this film as they definitely know this material well (obviously as most have performed Rent on Broadway) and I found I enjoyed this much more then the stage production as these people are the real deal and the people I saw before were a cheap imitation. Jesse L Martin & Rosario Dawson really stood out in their respective performances. The only knock against the performers is that since many have been performing this material since the mid 90s it can be hard believing that they are 20 something Bohemians when they are starting to look their age.

Though it was better then I anticipated it still really doesn't work for various reasons. The first is that Chris Columbus doesn't truly turn it into a real movie, as we move through the movie from performance to performance it retains the feel of a stage production. Second is the threadbare plot and character development that never really grabs. One important portion of the movie revolves around the death/funeral of Angel is supposed to be moving and tragic but just doesn't pack any punch as we don't really get to know Angel as he/she is barely a secondary character with little screen time. The final problem is that the material is really out of date. Written in the mid 90s the topic of AIDS has been done in a much better fashion (Angels In America) and to such a degree to now be rife for parody (See Team America's hysterical RENT spoof "Everyone Has AIDS").

Overall better then expected but not a movie I would recommend.


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