What do you get when you take a 1930s drama and roll it together with a hip-hop musical? An Outkast video that is an hour and 30 minutes long.
Andre Benjamin, also known as Andre 3000, and Antwan “Big Boi” Patton of the hip-hop duo Outkast transfer their musical talents to the big screen to create the hip-hop drama “Idlewild.”The film held back nothing musically in this elaborate production.
But as far as good acting and a good plot are concerned, there is a complete lack thereof.
One could almost get the interpretation that Andre 3000 and Big Boi were sitting down in the studio listening to a track and a light bulb flashed in their heads, inspiring them to make a film based on music, love and violence.
The musical performances were everything that is to be expected from Outkast – nothing less than perfection. The film begins as Macy Gray, who plays a musically-talented alcoholic, opens with the first musical selection. Andre 3000 and Big Boi pleased their fans by providing their classic sound with a 1930s twist.
The film was directed by Bryan Barber, a director known more for his music videos.
Barber did an excellent job putting together a series of shots that caught viewers’ eyes.
He opened the film in black and white, blended in still shots, and creatively allowed the characters to move around in a comic strip motion.
The story begins with two childhood friends raised on opposite sides of the track. Their only connection is the love they share for music.
Percival (Andre 3000), who has a reserved, quiet demeanor, loses his mother at the age of 4 and grows up helping his father run the family’s mortuary. By day, Percival is subjected to his father’s demanding rules.
At night, he plays piano at the “Church,” the town’s juke joint, hoping he will have the courage to follow his dreams and become a famous entertainer one day.
Rooster (Big Boi), the mover and shaker, is the showstopper at Church and cheats on his wife Zora (Malinda Williams) every chance that he gets.
Hollywood’s heartthrob, Terrance Howard, plays a cold-blooded gangster named Trumpy who seeks power through force. The film also debuts a new actress, Paula Patton as Angel Davenport, an aspiring entertainer from Chicago who falls in love with Percival.
Cicely Tyson makes a cameo as a God-fearing old woman with no money who has been living out of her car with her grandchildren for days as they travel to Detroit. Their encounter causes Rooster to have a life-changing experience.
The acting from Andre 3000 wasn’t as strong as it was in “The Four Brothers,” but for this to be his first leading role, he carried his own weight. I don’t expect to see Big Boi acting in any Oscar nominated films, but he was entertaining nonetheless.
If you are an Outkast fan, I would definitely recommend you go to AMC or Governor’s Square to see Idlewild. But, if you do not want to be upset about spending $7 on a mediocre film, you might want to wait for it to come to the dollar movie.