The Film (5/5)
When John Carney's film Once came out in 2007 I had started hearing about it right from it's first Sundance screening. It's blend of indie drama with a musical backbone began to strike a chord with fans from the very beginning. I didn't get to see it until its DVD release about a year later, but then found myself enchanted by the film, and excited by the director who made it. But then years went by, and I did not hear anything more from Carney.
As it turns out he spent the intervening years making some little seen indies in his native Ireland before coming back into international view with Begin Again in 2013. He has come back bigger than ever before with Sing Street, a semi-autobiographical film about a group of teenagers at a school in Dublin who start a band in the eighties. The film stars Ferdia Walsh-Peelo as Conor, a young man who lives under the thumb of his struggling and frustrated parents. As the film begins he is informed that they can no longer afford his present school, and he must transfer to a lower cost academy called Synge Street.
The school is a tough adjustment for Conor between the tough as nails headmaster, and the bully that is threatening to beat him just for his new-ness. However, there is a girl named Raphina (Lucy Boynton) who lives next door to the school that Conor finds himself obsessed by. In order to catch her attention, he tells Lucy that he is in a band, they are making a video, and she should be in it. The only problem is Conor doesn't know anything about playing music, nor does he have a band, but that didn't stop punk, nor will it stop Conor. He puts together the titular band Sing Street and the friends begin to write songs and experiment with style.
Sing Street isn't a deep film, but it is one of the most fun films I have seen this year. It channels the mid-80's very well stylistically. However, it runs with a story and theme of growing up, trying to fit in, and yes, trying to impress the girl that is timeless in storytelling. The performances from the cast are excellent throughout, especially impressive considering the young age of the cast. Special notice needs to be called out to film’s star Ferdia Walsh-Peelo who throws himself fully into the character of Conor, and Jack Reynor who plays his brother Brendan. These 2 have a very strong chemistry onscreen, and their performances are all the better for it. Lucy Boynton also performs wonderfully as Raphina.
Carney directs with a solid style that fits the material. The cover songs throughout the film are nicely complimentary, and even the originals are catchy and quite decent. Sing Street is a film that definitely deserves more attention then it's been getting, and I certainly look forward to what Carney does next.
Sing Street comes to Blu-ray with a quite solid 1080p AVC encoded transfer. The Blu-ray has excellent detail throughout its presentation, accurate flesh tones, deep blacks, and excellent color reproduction. The audio is presented with a DTS-HD 5.1 track in English which is quite solid with dialogue, score, and songs coming through quite nicely.
There are a few sparse extra features on Sing Street. There is a making of featurette on the film, a discussion between Adam Levene and director Carney about Sing Street, and audition footage from the cast.
Sing Street is quite a charming and fun film from Once director John Carney. The Blu-ray looks and sounds quite good ,but is limited in the extras department. RECOMMENDED.