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‘A Star Is Born’ – Review

‘A Star Is Born’ – Review


Some film’s wrap you in passion and bring out the fire within you and A Star Is Born is definitely one of them. This extraordinary piece of cinema from actor turned director Bradley Cooper is one of this year’s most incredible releases and every single moment will have you mesmerized. They simply don’t get much better than this.

Musician Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) helps a young singer named Alley (Lady Gaga) find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

From the moment that the screen flickers to light, A Star Is Born explodes with a thunderous rock rift and you’re pulled into a dynamic rock drama that never lets up for a moment. As a director Bradley Cooper has full control over his film and his passion as a creative artist shines through. With his directorial debut its clear that he wants his audience to be invested in his film and to experience something incredible….and he absolutely delivers here.

Cooper draws you into the ‘play fast, live faster’ world of blockbuster recording artists and he truly takes you behind the music. As an audience member you’re constantly engaged and his smart narrative takes you in a whole range of directions that you won’t see coming, and when the credits do begin to roll you’ll feel your heart beating at an extraordinary pace. Movies don’t get more alive than this.

Along with directing the film Cooper also takes on the role of hard-charging rockstar Jackson Maine who is slowly and almost deliberating beginning to fall into the shadows through progressive hearing loss and some serious substance abuse problems. If I were to use a word to describe Jackson then its definitely authentic. He feels like a real person, with real problems, who is experiencing life at a million miles an hour and who having touched the sun is approaching burnout at an incredibly alarming rate. It’s Cooper’s most intense and honest performance to date and knowing Cooper’s own history, which itself was tinged by deep depression and drug abuse in his early years, you understand that he wants to capture the heartache of that lifestyle when it just becomes too much.

As Jackson Cooper channels a character who is equal parts Neil Young and Kurt Cobain and he really opens up when it comes to the performances. Rocking a vintage Gibson Les Paul guitar, Cooper attacks the neck and slams out his rough blues-inspired grunge that echoes the cords of the 1970s and radiates cool. It’s a rift that gets inside your skin and you feel the electricity that flows through his whole being. Cooper clearly wanted to capture the rockstar spirit up on screen with Jackson and he definitely succeeds.

While Cooper might be directing A Star Is Born the film belongs to Lady Gaga who gives one of the most thought-provoking and beautiful performances that I’ve ever witnessed as a young woman who is struggling to find her voice.

As Alley, a young would-be singer songwriter who has so far not achieved her dreams and is living a life that has destroyed her creative soul you find a character who inspires incredible sympathy. It’s only after a chance encounter with Jackson that her life begins to spin upwards and her journey to the top is like a rocket and its one hell of an exciting journey.

Lady Gaga’s performance is simply extraordinary and she really wipes away any presence of her own self in the role and instead presents the character of Alley completely. While watching the film you don’t see Gaga you see Alley and for any actress that’s an incredibly hard thing to perform. Not so with Lady Gaga here and when she does finally unleash her voice you find yourself completely and totally mesmerized with what unfolds on screen. And along with her voice and performance you completely buy into the love that Alley and Jackson share together and their tumultuous rockstar love affair will rarely spin you around.

Everything comes together with A Star Is Born and watching it you feel that Cooper has been readying himself for this film his entire life and all of the work he’s done before has been in preparation for this cinematic event. The details truly matter in A Star Is Born and everyone involved in the project works to deliver something extraordinary. I have to praise the cinematography of Matthew Libatique who captures the film with a beautiful eye that radiates the unique glam pallet of Alley’s pop star world and the rustic tones of Jackson’s cowboy life.

Every detail in this film is designed to push the narrative further and the film’s incredible score plays a crucial part in this. Singing live both Cooper and Lady Gaga craft some incredible tunes that will become instant classics. With the music you get a vast range from Cooper’s blues tinged rock tracks such as ‘Black Eyes’ and ‘Alibi’ to Lady Gaga’s soul inspired tracks such as ‘Always Remember Us This Way’ and the heartfelt ‘I’ll Never Love Again’. But it’s the film’s signature duet track ‘Shallow’ which will really command your attention and which will leave you completely enchanted.

A Star Is Born is a simply incredible piece of cinema come to life and from beginning to end it will enchant you completely. It’s story is timeless and it is heart-wrenchingly beautiful in its presentation. Experience this masterpiece now and be transformed.

Image: Roadshow Films