Not Fade Away (2012)

110.

★★★

Directed by: David Chase
Written by: David Chase
Starring: John Magaro, Will Brill and Jack Huston

The Sopranos creator David Chase sets his feature film debut Not Fade Away against one of the nation’s most significant decades in politics and music.  It’s also a decade that is overly represented in contemporary American cinema with its undying appeal to younger generations who feel like they’ve missed out, whilst striking chords with the older generation that grew up in the thick of it. With a more immediate sense of the present than nostalgia, Chase brings his knack for writing witty dialogue to a passion for music in 1960’s New Jersey. But without enough surprising concepts, themes, or original, fresh perspectives on the times, Chase’s coming-of-age story fails to escape the familiarity of the 60’s as we’ve seen countless times on the big screen.

Generation gaps: “You ‘n me are gonna tangle, my friend”

Despite this, Chase’s focus on family conflict, personal ambition, and the harsh realities of failing to make it big in music are indeed rendered compelling through superb performances (particularly by James Gandolfini’s supporting role as a disapproving father) and characters that are both engaging and, at the right times, humorous. While Chase’s script may not necessarily be portrayed with the utmost conviction by lead John Magaro, whose antiwar sentiment and selfishness consistently lacks greater depth or complexity, there is an empathy that can be drawn from the uncertainty Chase injects into the dreams and hopes of the young drummer, singer-songwriter.

A little self-indulgent, and definitely not a step above the masterful Sopranos, Not Fade Away nevertheless offers a passionate reflection on the throes of young ambition, and a brilliant soundtrack put together with the expert help of music supervisor and executive producer, Steven Van Zandt.

Advertisements

One thought on “Not Fade Away (2012)

  1. fernandorafael says:

    Fantastic review. You make some interesting points but, after all, this one is the first I’ve read. I think I’m going to wait for a few more to come in so I can decie whether to watch this or not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s