Sunday, January 30, 2005

Review: Ray (2004)

I only knew his songs and wasn't particularly keen to see Ray (despite my love of music docos), but a bloody hot afternoon made an air-conditioned cinema session very attractive. My hesitation was misplaced; this bio of Ray Charles is a must for any fan of Charles' music.

Ray jumps back and forth between his career and his traumatic childhood when he both saw his younger brother drown and gradually lost his sight. The flashbacks are timed to explain stories Charles recounts or his actions in later years. Combined with segue archival footage (or footage processed to look archival), the flashbacks make it easy for the audience to see - at least the writer's idea of - how & why Charles lived the way he did.

The recording studio and live performance scenes are killers. I haven't got the soundtrack yet, but I expect it'll be great too.

A bit of interesting trivia from the Wikipedia entry on Charles:
Charles was significantly involved in the critically-acclaimed biopic Ray, a film released in October 2004 which portrayed his life and career between 1930 and 1966 and starred Jamie Foxx as Charles. Before shooting could begin, however, director Taylor Hackford brought Foxx to meet Charles, who heard that the younger man was an accomplished pianist and insisted that they sit down at two pianos and jam. For two hours, Charles challenged Foxx, who revealed the depth of his talent, and finally, Charles stood up, hugged himself, and proclaimed, "He's the one...he can do it," thus giving his blessing.
Rated: M.
Running time: 152 mins.
Seen: Greater Union, Manuka, ACT, 30 Jan 05, 12.40pm session.
Cinema condition: Good.
Audience: Quiet.


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