- Chris Columbus
- Reviewed by
- Josť Ruiloba a.k.a. Morris
- Review date
- Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Roger (Adam Pascal) and Mark (Anthony Rapp) are a pair of artists struggling in East Village New York as their landlord and former friend Benjamin (Taye Diggs) is about to evict them if they donít pay the rent. Roger is still coping with living with AIDS, while Mark hasnít gotten over his breakup with Maureen (Idina Menzel), who left him for a woman, Joanne (Tracie Thoms). A friend of them, Collins (Jesse L. Martin), comes to visit for Christmas, and soon meets Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), who goes through life as a drag queen. Both are sick, and so is Mimi (Rosario Dawson), a stripper who lives downstairs and who really likes Roger.
Rent is, as everyone knows, a musical. The movie is structured as a series of musical numbers intertwined with just the necessary dialogue. I have to be honest when I tell you I didnít find the music that stirring. There are certainly a couple of songs that stand out, but I would not want to listen to the movieís (or the showís, for that matter) songs without the images to accompany them.
My favorite moments in the movie are two that feature the great ďSeasons of LoveĒ, and another one with the show-stopper ďMaureen TangoĒ. Thereís a funeral during the movie, and it certainly is a rousing sequence. ďLa Vie BohemeĒ proves to be a fun number as well. But apart from those I canít really remember much else, except of course for Maureenís bizarre protest performance.
I guess part of the trouble I had with the movie is that I didnít root for most of its main characters. There are a lot of relationships and problems in the movie, but most characters are only touched upon superficially. I thought it was because the music didnít let me get into their inner selves, but then I remembered that Iíve seen musicals where Iíve really identified with the characters. The stagy feeling is hard to avoid, and director Chris Columbus does not manage to make of this a fluid motion picture.
But itís not all negative. The movie is affecting, well shot, well acted and entertaining. I had a good time with it. I appreciated how the musical numbers were staged. I liked some of the songs and lyrics. But it didnít come through as a whole.
As performances go, itís amazing how you can instantly notice who has movie appeal and who doesnít. Rosario Dawson steals the movie and sheís the only member, apart from Thoms, who is not from the original stage show. Idina Menzel also shows signs of amazing charisma, and Iím glad sheís finally turning her attention to a career in movies. Taye Diggs appears briefly, but shows a lot of presence. And the original Rent members are all good. They certainly know their roles by heart.
ďNo day but today.Ē
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