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Across The Universe
UKScreen Rating:

Across The Universe – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

In this Beatles-themed musical, 1960s Liverpool shipyard worker Jude (Sturgess) quits his job, packs a bag and heads to the United States to find the father who returned home after the war, leaving his mother to look after him on his own.
Heading to a Princeton, he finds his father is a janitor there. Hanging around on the campus, he befriends a group of wealthy trust-fund kids – and falls for the sister of one of them, Lucy (Wood).
He ends up living in New York with them, soaking up the fizz of early 1970s Manhattan – including the seedy clubs where his songstress landlady sings – the growth of the civil rights movement and protests against the Vietnam War.
After a brief trip back home, Jude soon returns to the US to prove his love for Lucy.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

One part romance, one part melodrama, one part musical – throw in a large part of the Beatles back-catalogue, a few unknown actors and a few star cameos and what do you get? Across the Universe.
It’s unclear who this film is aimed at; if you don’t like the Beatles, it’ll mean nothing to you – if you do, you might well be highly offended by hearing a bunch of drama-school students putting on a graduation show – there’s a very real sense in which it’s like a competent karaoke.
Visually, it’s impressive – from the set-piece choreography with huge numbers of extras to the more intimate routines and the more surreal animated moments.
From the moment we hear the main character’s name is Jude, we’re waiting for the anthemic Beatles favourite, but of course we have a long time to wait before we reach this emotional climax.
In fact, length is one of the film’s particular downfalls – at least a two-hour Stars In Their Eyes Beatles special would have ad-breaks.
There’s just too much music and not enough drama – it’s a series of contiguous, loosely linked pop promos rather than a properly integrated narrative film. The inherent story could have happily been dealt with in a short film.
The drama is weak and many of the smaller roles are little more than musical clichés.
It’s an interesting cinematic experience – but little else.

Official site www.acrosstheuniverse.com

opens nationwide 28th September 2007

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