Chris O'Dowd's charm works its magic again, helping this Aussie Commitments through its slower moments. There might be no surprises here but even when it is at its most obvious, the sassiness on show keeps things buoyed.
Australia, 1968, and while Vietnam kicks off for real, four indigenous Australian girls – Maubov, Sebbens, Tapsell and their bossy older sister/guardian Mailman - have their own struggles: their brand of Country music set isn’t being taken seriously. Seeing something in them, alcoholic Irish piano player (not mutually exclusive in movies) Chris O'Dowd encourages them to switch from Country to Soul, and whisks them away to South East Asia to entertain the troops. However, with dodgy promoters making off with their dough and the girls putting on shows pretty close to where the bullets are flying, things get hairy…
Chris 'Can we just make my character Irish?' O'Dowd is the Jimmy Rabbitte/Joey The Lips of the bunch: he's the dreamer, the one giving the ‘this is what real Soul is all about’ speech. O'Dowd is O'Dowd again, coming on easy with that casual flair he's got down pat. Mailman also impresses but their will-they-won’t-they shtick doesn't convince.
Based on the stage play that was based on a true story, Sapphires likes to shake its bum but it doesn't mind bringing to light the plight of the 'Stolen generation', when the government would remove children from their parents and relocate them elsewhere where they would be ingratiated into white society. The racial issues aren’t exactly handled with any kind of subtlety; with 'light-skinned' Sebbens trying to pass herself off as a white girl when it suits her, the girls are guilty of their own prejudices.
At times, it can be story by numbers – there's the expected love interest from a soldier and it's only a matter of time before Mailman and O' Dowd stop locking horns and hop into bed – but for the most part The Sapphires is bubbly fun with the girls cooking up a cracking version of I Heard It Through The Grapevine
Review by Gavin Burke | 13:03 | Tuesday 16th October 2012 | Movie Review
To use a well known soccer phrase, this is a film of two halfs. The first half is an introduction to the characters and story line, which lacked any real interest, and was made worse in that I could sense the camera and production crews walking around in the back round. In fact if the cast had being reading their lines from scripts in hand it would'nt have bothered me that much. The second half was better,as the whole story moved to Vietnam and was able to tune into both the music and history of the time and things started to take off and become more interesting. I was happy by the end, but it nearly took me an hour to get there. Should be on sale for seven euro shortly after dvd release.Posted 11:17 | Sat 1st Dec 2012
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