10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful! Warm and funny biopic.,
This review is from: Sweet And Lowdown [DVD]  (DVD)
I loved this film! It has been beautifully and lovingly put together by Woody Allen, and his vast knowledge of the subject positively shines through. The story is told by anecdotal narration from Allen and other experts on jazz, interwoven with re-enactments of the events they describe played out by Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Uma Thurman and the rest of the cast. This documentary style format works supremely well, and is not at all disjointed. The various actors acquit themselves more than admirably, particularly Sean Penn who was almost born to play the part, so enthusiastically does he throw himself into it.
The story is that of the working life of Emmet Ray, a great American jazz guitarist of the late 20s early 30s, second only, so he claimed, to Django Reinhardt. We are shown how his career progresses (or, arguably, regresses) from his early beginnings, when he was pimping in order to supplement his income, to his eventual disappearance from the jazz scene to who knows where.
Despite the hugely unpleasant traits he exhibits during the course of the film (mistreatment of the women in his life, a tendency to overspend and steal, bizarre hobbies etc), there is something fundamentally likeable about him. It is this, coupled with the glorious soundtrack and insightful comments of the narrators which make this film great rather than merely good.
So, if you have 90 minutes of spare time on your hands, you could do far worse than to devote them to watching this magical masterpiece, which is, in my opinion, Woody Allen’s best ever film. Enjoy.