Friday, August 25, 2006
Outkast blast, it's a gas!
When it comes to Idlewild, there is good news, and then there is great news, because the last big blast of the summer -- or, if you prefer, the first great movie of the fall -- also happens to be one of the very best movies of the year. Andre Benjamin and Antwan A. Patton -- better known as Andre 3000 and Big Boi, and better still known as Outkast -- have joined forces with filmmaker Bryan Barber, the visionary director of Outkast's best videos, to create a visually stunning, emotionally thrilling and kinetically exhilarating musical that nominally is set during the Prohibition Era in small-town Georgia, but substitutes and/or intermingles throbbing hip-hop melodies with the more period-appropriate sounds of jazz, swing, soul and blues. Indeed, the wall-to-wall musical score references just about every post-WWI musical influence imaginable, and the excitingly sensual dance sequences -- often photographed in the "bullet time" style of martial-arts epics and Matrix-style sci-fi thrillers -- suggest a mashed-up amalgam of '20 speakeasies, '40s dancehalls and contemporary dusk-to-dawn raves. Barber isn't afraid to go for over-the-top emotion -- call it hip-hopera, and you won't be far off the mark -- and his boldly free-form storytelling style incorporates everything from CGI visuals to the stutter-stop editing of Jean-Luc Godard. As the Outkast guys might exclaim: "Hey, ya!"