The much anticipated ‘A Star Is Born’ shines a very bright light on the modern music industry and the paths it takes to form and sculpt a new artist. In doing so providing a stark insight into the personal struggles, strifes and turmoil of a modern day rocker. Captivating, riveting and tear-jerkingly beautiful ‘A Star Is Born’ manages to reinvigorate a classic love story, with a genuine modern twist. More importantly achieving so without the tempting use of cliches, gimmicks or sentimentality.
Through a distorted guitar pedal and a thumping bass drum Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) pops a few pills and heads out on stage. The crowd go berserk and we are immersed in arguably the greatest onscreen rock concert of all time before. The camera work on the stage is mesmerising, it brings a sense of grit and reality to a rock gig that we have simply not been exposed to before. And that tone is a linchpin for the rest of the movie. After stumbling into his escort vehicle after the gig, Jackson demands a roader at a local bar and in doing so discovers the beautiful and Raw talent of Ally (Lady Gaga).
Jackson is a highly successful rock artist and seemingly battling with depression, armed with pills and copious amounts of gin is on a road to destruction. Bouncing from gig to gig, spiralling out of control, breeding bitterness and resentment. So when he meets Ally they are almost at polar opposite ends of the scale in a musicians career. It is indeed how these paths manage to intertwine and manifest themselves in the musical world that makes this movie so captivating. Ally’s seeming shyness is quickly altered by Jackson’s charisma and complete inability to say no. And that is an incredibly important point to keep in mind when talking about the believability of their love and indeed them falling in love. It is indeed completely believable and as an audience we are taken on not only a musicians propulsion to stardom, but the baggage that comes along with that, in a very real and visceral way.
Touched upon before however lets reiterate just how good the direction was for essentially a directorial debut. The tone was set from the beginning and continued throughout with no upsets, it’s desperate, it’s raw and it’s beautiful. perhaps it is the amalgamation of the two ‘debuts’ as it were that makes this such a recipe for success.
This opinion is so widely perceived throughout both general public opinion and critics alike, and for good reason. There are very few flaws that can be made but those very few flaws are going to be put forth now. One being the slightest sense of disbelievebatilly of one particular scene; that being the first time Ally and Jackson got on stage singing the song that Ally sung in jest the previous night. Apparently Jackson remembered a 2 minuet monolog (that he heard drunk once) and created an entire composition from it. Now this might be nitpicking but it’s important, because that element of ridiculousness can sneak into any movie, thankfully it was culled early enough not to ruin it.
A star Is Born is truly spectacular in both its visuals and audio, its performances and its direction. Bradley’s directorial debut is a real shock to the system and really exposes his talent for direction and his understanding of both tone and subtlety. Besides him is the amazing Lady Gaga whom is really put out of her comfort zone, yet seemed completely comfortable in that zone. A stunning performance in a well balanced and beautifully sounding movie. 8/10