Thursday, 31 August 2017

Review: Patti Cake$

Patti Cake$
Cert: 15 / 109 mins / Dir. Geremy Jasper / Trailer

Feeling once again like a movie which we should be getting in October's release-schedule, writer/director Geremy Jasper brings us Patti Cake$, a drama about a 23yr old waitress and family-carer (Danielle Macdonald) in smalltown New Jersey who wants to break free of the downward-spiral she sees as her life, becoming a successful rapper. With singer Jerry (Siddharth Dhananjay) and guitarist/mixer Basterd (Mamoudou Athie), the beleaguered Patti tries to puncture the membrane separating club-level, street acts and more successful, recognised performers. But competition is plentiful and life rarely lets you pursue your dreams without obstacle…

While Patti Cake$ is set against a backdrop of hip-hop, the strokes of the story are fairly broad, examining confidence, obligation and the legacy of failure in a family of coulda-made-its. This isn't quite the relentlessly gritty tale of social angst that the trailer makes out out to be, although that's definitely the primary ingredient. Underneath the raw contemporary feel, what we get is actually a fairly formulaic underdog story; Jasper also telegraphs the turns quite broadly, adding to the feeling that this isn't all it could be.

The cast give solid performances all round and the music marries up with the story perfectly, but they're not quite enough to save the coulda-made-it screenplay, building to a crescendo that the film doesn't quite earn. Maybe it's my own fault for loving that trailer and believing the pull-quotes telling me how fantastic it was. I thoroughly enjoyed Patti Cake$, but it didn't over-perform like I'd hoped it would. I wanted to be blown away, I was only swept along. Then again, I can hardly blame Geremy Jasper for my expectations…

With a movie about creative drive and the hunger to put your own unique musical stamp on the world, I probably shouldn't have come out of the cinema with Heart stuck in my head…

So, watch this if you enjoyed?
The aspiration of Sing Street with the urban decay of The Transfiguration...

Should you watch this in a cinema, though?
While it's not typical 'big screen' fare, I think the film's sincerity will come over better in that format.

Does the film achieve what it sets out to do?
Just about.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
Really couldn't say, on that front.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?
Not at all.

Yes, but is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
Not at all.

Yes, but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: This film stars Bridget Everett, who was in 2012's Gayby along with Adam 'Kylo' Driver.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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