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The mean streets of Dublin set to music

‘The Commitments’ will be shown Tuesday, March 15 at 7p.m. at the library.
‘The Commitments’ will be shown Tuesday, March 15 at 7p.m. at the library.

“The Commitments,” a 1991 Irish movie based on the novel by Roddy Doyle and directed by Alan Parker, will be shown Tuesday, March 15 at 7 p.m. in the Movies at the Library series on the lower level of the library.

Well, this is an Irish movie, so it must have beautiful bucolic scenery, ingratiating characters speaking with  soft lilting brogues and colorful dialogue that verges on the poetic.

Forget that! This is another Ireland.

“The Commitments” has interesting characters speaking colorful language, for sure, but the setting and language are of the gritty mean streets of working class (and out-of-work class) of Dublin in the 1960s.

Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) has an absurd obsession to create a top-shelf soul music, rhythm and blues band, à la Wilson Pickett. Not quite “Danny Boy.” He enlists a few friends and sets out interviewing for other musicians, but, alas, Dublin was not a hotbed of soul music. The parade of interviewees is a hilarious set of scenes that proves that Dublin was a hotbed of wacky characters.

The band somehow becomes a great success, featuring 16-year-old Deco (Andrew Strong), a spectacular performer, and Joey “The Lips” Fagan (Johnny Murphy), a horn player who knows soul music backwards and forwards. But the gang is self-destructing and can’t stand success. In a short career, however, the band created some of the most exciting music of the era and the crowds in the local pubs loved them.

The cast members of “The Commitments” are mostly not professional actors and are truly from the streets of Dublin.

The film offers no message, no solutions, only a very good time at the movies. If this is the anti-“Quiet Man,” it is no less exciting and fun. One critic called it “downright irresistible.” The flinty determination of the band, the lively, brilliant music, and the great cast of characters will leave you exhilarated.

See you at the movies!