Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Purple Rain

Purple Rain; Drama, USA, 1984; D: Albert Magnoli, S: Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Morris Day, Clarence Williams III, Olga Karlatos

Minneapolis. The young Prince is an aspiring musician who performs well on stage. One evening, a young girl called Apollonia sneaks into the club where he is performing, claiming to be a singer and a dancer looking for a job. Prince welcomes her, drives her around with his motorcycle and they fall in love. At the same time, he is tormented by his terrible private life at home, where his depressive father beats his mother. When Apollonia leaves him to perform in a girl band by his nemesis Morris, Prince falls apart. His father also tries to commit suicide with a gun. Yet, in the end, he returns in big style with his new song "Purple Rain".

Cult movie "Purple Rain" achieved a great success and finally catapulted charismatic musician Prince into a major star, even winning him an Oscar for best music. Yet, from watching the film alone, one can't quite justify it's legendary reputation. Basically, it's little more than a neat promotional spot for Prince and his songs, and the paper thin story unfolds just as a standard "from thorns to stars" piece of a struggle of an aspiring artist, with all the ingredients that follow it. Though, director Albert Magnoli avoided turning it into a musical, insisting on shaping it as a straight forward drama inter cut with Prince's performances on stage. The famous musician is really good in the leading role, yet he can't create something that isn't written there, namely magic and movie skill, which is the reason why his agony over his father beating his mother rings true in the strongest manner, but is also at the same time probably the most tedious ingredient. Still, for such an elegant narration and easy structure without turning into an ego trip, this solid film is actually quite sympathetic.


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