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Film review – ‘A Star is Born’

3 October 2018 Featured news


A Star is Born
Warner Bros. Pictures
*****

Silence is a very powerful thing. The way that ‘A Star is Born’ comes to a close, with a silent final scene, will be one of the most harrowing and moving scenes displayed on a cinema screen this year.

Silence is also in complete contrast to the rest of the film, which represents a musical masterpiece led by Bradley Cooper as lead character Jackson Maine, and the excellent Lady Gaga as Ally. There was a lot of talk of this film being Oscar worthy by critics, and it’s very easy to see why that is the case.

It will almost certainly be nominated for the likes of Best Original Song, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Cooper could get nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role. It’s also very possible that Gaga could be nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, such was the brilliance in their performance.

Those thinking that the film is just a straight up love story are very mistaken, as the film contains a sinister edge that ranges from Maine’s growing alcohol addiction, to the way the story pans out, which adds a very dark and emotional element.

The trail of destruction left by Maine’s alcoholism will strike a chord with pretty much anyone, and once the realisation hits, it’s such a compelling and gut-wrenching moment that is captured perfectly.

Cooper sought help from Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder before taking on ‘A Star is Born’, and what strikes you the most is Cooper’s ability to sing – it’s to the point that you very easily forget it’s an actor singing these songs, and it gives the film a very authentic feel.

For a film about music, it was critical that the use of music in the film was spot on – and indeed, it was. Lukas Nelson and Gaga played a big part in the soundtrack, with Nelson and his band – The Promise of the Real – making up Maine’s band in the film, but the timing of the tracks is genius.

As an example, the use of LCD Soundsystem’s New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down when Ally finds out a remarkable piece of news is sublime on every level imaginable, and the original songs that are used in the film – namely the huge duets between Maine and Ally, or when Ally has the piano at her disposal – are excellent, and are testament to the staggering levels of musical ability that Nelson and Gaga have.

Some elements seem a bit farfetched – for example, Ally’s songs seem to cover just about every genre imaginable and are all wedged into one setlist – but by and large, this is an exceptionally well written and directed film, and is so good that you can look past the small bits you may question.

Just bring some tissues if you’re prone to crying at films – you’ll need them if so, especially when the silence hits.