Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: Idlewild (Film)Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Oyama Caviness
“The A’s” dynamic duo strikes again. This time not in record sales, but with their big screen debut Idlewild (Universal Pictures). With the help writer and director Bryan Barner, once again Outkast takes you on a magical ride, this time to Idlewild, GA where two small town friends get caught up in big time gangsta drama. Idlewild tells the tales of gangstas and hustlers in a creative, corky way.
Andre Benjamin and Antwan Patton do not give overly impressive acting performances simply because their characters Percival and Rooster, respectively, are not a far stretch from the Andre 3000 and Big Boi you all know as Outkast. However, a stellar cast with the likes of Ben Vereen, Cicely Tyson, Ving Rhames, and Terrence Howard make Idlewild worthy of any Hollywood accolades it may receive.
The compelling and layered storylines keep the audiences attention throughout the film. Percival, an unpopular, timid musician finds a love who encourages him to reach his true potential and follow his dreams. Rooster, the outgoing, street smart performer who looks out for Percival, maneuvers through grimy gangsta politics while trying to maintain a stable family structure.
Bryan Barber, the mastermind behind many Outkast videos including the award winning “Hey Ya” pushes the visual envelope with captivating “church” (the club in the movie) scenes. Outkast favorites like “Bowtie” and “Church” are performed with uptempo swing choreography from Tony winner Hinton Battle and touched with subtle ATL flava reminiscent of the the “The Way You Move” video. Throughout the film, fast paced scenes are contrasted by slow motion isolation which takes the cinematography to a level in line with the box creativity of Outkast themselves.
Unfortunately for viewers that are not die hard Outkast fans, the musical performances may seem a bit corny at times. These musical elements, which serve as the soundtrack and upcoming Outkast album, are edited brilliantly between scenes which only add to the dramatic storyline. A steamy sex scene between Percival (Andre) and his romantic interest Angel (Paula Patton) more than make up for any disappointments-an added treat Andre 3000 groupies are sure to enjoy.
Overall, Idlewild is an entertaining musical told in a bizarre fashion that only Outkast could manage to pull off.