I am a sucker for a movie about musicians. Everything from That Thing You Do! to the TV miniseries The Temptations I have devoured and loved. The 1991 film The Commitments is one that passed my radar and for good reason: it was 1991 and I was too busy being five years old and playing with wrestling figures (as opposed to now being 23 and playing with wrest…I mean lifting weights), plus it’s never on TV.
My roommate, who is also a big fan of movies about music, decided to fire up the ol’ Netflix Watch Instantly on his Xbox 360 and put this one on, saying it would be worth a watch. Planning to go to bed, I said I’d give it 20 minutes and then I was out. Two hours later, the movie is over, and I am wowed. The Commitments may possibly be the best (and most realistic) movie about a band ever made.
Set in the working class area of Dublin, Ireland, The Commitments follows Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins), a music lover with dreams of fame and fortune who decides to bring “soul music” to Dublin. He enlists the help of his best friends, Outspan Foster (Glen Hansard… yes, that Glen Hansard) and Derek “Meatman” Scully (Kenneth McCluskey), to play guitar and bass respectively and puts an ad in the paper to complete the band.
The band slowly fills up with an oddball set of characters from all around the city, including the egotistical pervert Deco Cuffe (Andrew Strong) as the lead singer and trumpeter Joey “The Lips” Fagan (Johnny Murphy), who spent his youth playing with all the greats and acts as the spiritual guru for the young band (when he’s not sleeping with the three female backup singers, that is). The movie follows the trials and tribulations of the band, from gaining a following in Dublin to personal conflicts between the many band members (there are about ten total), and just life in the working class hell of Dublin’s North Side.