Running Time: 1hr 51min
MPAA Rating: R
A much undervalued film that tells the story of a young musician caught in an ever-declining spiral of domestic violence.
At times difficult to watch, while Morris Day is portrayed as the misogynist, Prince as the knight on (motorcycle) steed, he is still called upon to twice beat a woman as part of the screenplay. That he can do this and still emerge as a flawed but vindicated hero is credit to the writing. Prince is so free of ego in this film that not only does he portray himself as a narcissistic megalomaniac who beats women, but his most famous song is fictionalised as being written by his father and Wendy & Lisa. Even further, two of his compositions – Computer Blue (admittedly the album’s weakest track) and Darling Nikki – are shown as being songs that kill off an audience. Perhaps the only concession to the Princely ego is a card that lists the (slightly shorter than Prince) Apollonia as 5’6.
The nearly complete-amateur cast are mainly band members playing themselves (and reviewers who slate the actors on the terms that they’ve never appeared in other movies are completely missing the point), and do perfectly well under the direction. Morris Day gets most of the plaudits for his likable ham, though Jerome Benton must also get credit for bouncing off him well, particularly their stage act, which is hilarious. Day and Benton even go so far as to make an Abbott and Costello routine funny, which takes some doing.
Lastly, there’s Prince. While I admit to bias, I do actually think he’s a pretty good actor in terms of being able to portray a low-key version of himself. Acting ISN’T his profession, this was a film made for entertainment, so anyone pointing out that the guy in the lead role isn’t Robert DeNiro and thinking they’re making a point is sadly deluded. I don’t want this review to be a derisory attack of other people’s comments, but I’ve even this film slated as having a low budget and being darkly lit. How would a film about domestic violence be shot, then? With full overhead spotlights and a CGI dinosaur walking into frame?
The film acts almost as a perfect snapshot of the neon light and skinny tie era… until you remember that it was actually made in a world of curly perms and tinny synths, and this isn’t some retro-recreation. Prince’s best film with Oscar-winning music, it sees him at his zenith, and it’s saddening to realize that, even though he would make some fine albums, he would never again capture this high.
Written bt: The_Movie_Cat