Sing Street Review

"The film nails the feeling and sound of live music"

Sing Street tells the story of a boy from a broken home forming a band to get the girl he meets outside his new public school. Form a band: get the girl, we’ve seen this story hundreds of times before but Sing Street’s presentation of it makes it feel engaging and fun none the less. For the most part it’s a well told, focused story that develops a cast of likeable characters whom the audience will certainly be rooting for by the end.

The only major issues with the plot is that It all happens far too fast and easily. For a movie about music helping to overcome adversity you’d think that more on screen work and struggle would go in to the actual music bit. But this is forgivable as the focus here is clearly the band members rather than the band itself. The less forgivable mistakes are the giant tonal shifts that book end the story. The main body of the film is solid and well told but there’s a good 10-15 minutes at both the beginning and end that feel totally out of place.

The film’s visuals are nothing to write home about. There is nothing specifically bad about the way the film is shot but it doesn’t have any particular pop or flair to it. There is the occasional nice use of a sweeping single take shot here and there that give the film a much more polished feel. There’s also some nice use of background visual storytelling and one beautiful scene in particular where a convincing imitation of the sun is used very poignantly. But aside from these few stand out moments the cinematography is, for the most part, functional, and that’s just fine.

Sound, however, is where this film really shines. The film features an excellent soundtrack with a variety of authentic 80’s music and new, original songs. These new songs fit perfectly and really help to cement the band as a believable part of their music scene. But more impressive still is how the film nails the feeling and sound of live music. Drums feel powerful, guitars and basses stand strong at the front of the sound stage with the vocals pushing past the natural amplification of the instruments behind. If you’ve ever seen a band live you’ll recognise the sound of live music and it’s a good reason to see this film whilst it’s in a cinema where the excellent mixing will be done true justice.

There are a few small niggles that hamper the film a little. One such issue is a frequent lack of logic and narrative consistency, the main protagonist is shown to be the outcome of major hardship but the movie never makes this feel real or tangible, in fact it does quite the opposite. The other major sticking point for this film is a few moments where it manages such authenticity that it becomes uncomfortable to experience. There is one distressingly uncomfortable scene that momentarily plunges the film in to a deep, dark hole. It leaves you wondering whether earlier versions of this script took a much darker turn that the film that ended up releasing.

Overall Sing Street tells a good story despite a few shortcomings and tonal mistakes. Its Visuals are fine but flat, but a fantastic and authentic approach to sound makes this a very enjoyable movie for music fans, who should definitely see where it’ll be done justice.

Sing Street
Sing Street
The Good
  • Excellent sound mixing
  • Great original music
  • likeable characters.
The Bad
  • Mostly flat visuals
  • Tonal Flaws
  • Occasional uncomfortable scenes.

Cameron McCulloch-Keeble is a writer, filmmaker and podcaster, He has a degree in film from Birmingham City University and has written for the official website of Empire Magazine. When he's not writing, talking or shooting he's trying to think of a better twitter handle than his current @CaptainZep
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