Commitments, The (1991): Alan Parker’s Irish Musical from Roddy Doyle Novel

Fox (UK; Beacon Communications Productions)

Alan Parker’s “The Commitments,” based on Roddy Doyle’s first novel, depicts a band of young performers, headed by Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins), whose goal is to bring 1960s soul music to working-class Dublin. The film’s title derives from the group’s name.
It begins with an ad placed in the local paper, which helps Jimmy assembles an unlikely group of musicians who connect with the hearts and souls of their public. As the band is about to have its big break, egos clash and expectations of fame and fortune start to have negative effect, forcing Jimmy to fight hard to keep them together.
At its best moments, “The Commitments” captures in authentic way the group’s dynamics of a young, fresh, and dynamic band, the emerging talents, the clashing temperaments, the individual commitments.
The film benefits from its buoyant cast, largely made up of unknown actors. Andrew Strong stands out as the lead singer, who exuded volatile and irresistible charisma as he transforms from an insecure youth to a self-centered performer
The great character actor Colm Meaney appears as Jimmy’s father, a role he would play in two other screen adaptations of Doyle novels, the excellent “The Snapper” and the mediocre “The Van,” both directed by Stephen Frears. (Meaney is, of course, also known as Chief O’Brien in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”).
Some American viewers complained about the heavy Irish accent, which was hard to understand, but the great music, and the excitement of the youths, compensate for all the shortcomings.
Oscar Nominations: 1
Film Editing: Gerry Hambling
Oscar Awards: None
Oscar Context:
The winner winners of the Editing Oscar were Joe Hutshing and Pietro Scala for Oliver Stone’s “JFK.”