The website for “Idlewild” promised a movie in the “In the Key of Cool” and delivered on that promise. The big budget production set in the 1930s and music video director Bryan Barber were both factors to this highly anticipated film. The main characters are the two members of the hip-hop group OutKast.Both have had roles in other films, but this is b the first movie that they starred in together.In the movie, Percival (Andre “Andre 3000” Benjamin) is a nondescript, yet talented piano player, who also works for his controlling father in their family mortuary.
Rooster (Antwon “Big Boi” Patton) plays an equally talented, but definitely more ostentatious character, who makes his living by singing and hustling.The two met as children, and maintain a strong alliance musically and relationship wise despite their differences in character. Church is the name of the lounge that works as the stage for almost all of the excellent musical performances throughout the movie. Church is vivid, hectic and displays the lounge life; dancers, singers, and alcohol.The scenes in Church are beautiful and enthralling and combine the music and dance of the 1930s with the hip-hop sounds and movement of 2006.Rooster is clearly from wrong side of the tracks, and his story proves to be infinitely more important to the overall plot of “Idlewild”.Rooster’s uncle is a best friend and business partner with Spats (Ving Rhames).
When Rooster witnesses the killing of Rha, and Sunshine Ace, the owners of Church, Rooster is catapulted almost unwillingly into the spotlight He is forced to run Church himself, and obtains the unwelcome attention of Trumpy.Trumpy (Terrence Howard) is not only murderer of b Spats and Ace, but also now is the unchallenged and self-proclaimed owner of Spats’ illegal moonshine trafficking business.Trumpy is resentful of both Rooster and Spats, and seeks to use his newfound power for evil.Percival almost falls into the background of the whole movie, with struggles for control from his repressive father. He eventually falls in love with Angel Davenport (Paula Patton) who is a famous singer new to Church.Angel realizes and convinces Percival of his overall talent and implores him to share his music with the world.I can’t say that I agree with other reviews about this movie, because they tout it as one big OutKast video. The movie has depth, a strong plot and an interesting storyline.
The respect shown to the 1930s time period through the costume, music and dance was noticeable and highly impressive. It is a cohesive blend of very different styles to come up with the polished, finished product. While Patton was surprisingly good as Rooster, Benjamin’s performance as Percival was astonishingly lackluster.
His character was obviously supposed to be an integral part in “Idlewild”, yet nothing about him stood out and made a movie watcher want to know more about him.It was simply too easy to just wait for the next few scenes when the movie shifted its focus from Percival to Rooster, or to Church.
Even though his character was experiencing many life-changing events, I never felt engaged by him, and it was almost a boring performance.Patton’s performance as Rooster was definitely notable. Rooster was a performer and a natural-born hustler.
He commanded the attention of the people around him as well as the audience watching. He was married with children, yet cheating on his suspicious wife Zora.
Instead of his philandering and other faults having the effect of making him a bad person, it made him more realistic. .Overall, the movie wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece, but it was exciting and enjoyable.
It’s not an offering of the usual relationship-centered movie generally associated with all African-American casts, which makes Idlewild stand out from the rest.
“Idlewild” is about bigger things: a time, a place, friendships, love and most of all, music.