Cadillac Records (15)

Film image

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner18/02/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Enjoyable whizz through a chapter of musical history, with a terrific soundtrack and great performances across the board.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Darnell Martin, Cadillac Records chronicles the rise of Chess Records and the birth of musical legends such as Muddy Waters (Jeffrey Wright), Howlin' Wolf (Eamonn Walker), Little Walter (Columbus Short), Chuck Berry (Mos Def) and Etta James (Beyonce Knowles). Partly narrated by songwriter / bandleader Willie Dixon (Cedric the Entertainer), the film centres on the partnership between musical impresario Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody) and Muddy Waters, beginning with their auspicious meeting in 1947.

The Good
Martin's script has a lot of ground to cover, but he does a fantastic job, leaving you with the overall impression of having spent a couple of hours flicking through an illustrated chapter of musical history, rather than say, immersing yourself in a biography of any one particular artist. He's aided by some snappy editing, his own pacey direction and a host of terrific performances.

It seems unfair to single out any particular actor, but Beyonce Knowles is sensational as Etta James, particularly during her stunning rendition of I'd Rather Go Blind. Similarly, Columbus Short is superb as the fiery Little Walter, Mos Def has a great time as Chuck Berry and Eamonn Walker makes a powerul impression as Howlin' Wolf (who has a fierce rivalry with Waters).

The Great
In addition, the film is beautifully shot, with crisp cinematography by Anastas Michos and impressive production design throughout. It also goes without saying that the film has a fabulous soundtrack.

To be fair, Cadillac Records is definitely guilty of dipping into The Big Book Of Musical Biopic Cliches and there are a few dodgy lines of dialogue (look out for an unintentionally hilarious cameo by "The Rolling Stones"), but the direction and performances are more than strong enough to make up for the occasional lapse.

Worth seeing?
Cadillac Records is a wonderfully acted, well written and impressively directed musical multi-biopic with some surprisingly powerful emotional moments, thanks to strong performances and a terrific soundtrack. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Cadillac Records (15)
Cadillac Records has been reviewed by 1 users
image
01 Sabotage (tbc)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence H...

image
02 Paddington (tbc)

Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Sally Hawkins

image
03 The Maze Runner (tbc)

Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Will Poulter

image
04 Blue Ruin (tbc)

Macon Blair, Devin Ratray, Amy Hargreaves

image
05 The Fault in all Our Stars (tbc)

Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Willem Dafoe

Content updated: 16/04/2014 14:30

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

We Are the Best!

Delightful, uplifting Swedish comedy that marks a long-awaited return to form of the likes of Show Me Love and Together for writer-director Lukas Moodysson.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films