The lives of various characters intersect in 1920s Harlem, at the renowned jazz venue the Cotton Club. Handsome horn player Dixie Dwyer falls for Vera, the stunning girlfriend of famous gangster Dutch Schultz. But Dixie aspires to a career in Hollywood, imitating Schultz on-screen.
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This movie has everything. Great music, rounded subplots, Nicolas Cage and Lawrence Fishburne as freakin' hoods! Even the bad guys are unnerving. It feels like a jazzier 'The Untouchables', than 'The Godfather' - you can blame that on the eighties. But you're basically in for a good time with this one.
Magical story from the 1920s in Harlem, with the background of the gangsters' time. Both Richard Gere and Diane Lane fully display their acting virtues. The music is awesome, I loved all that jazz. However predictable, the script flows nice and easy. Of course I won't tell you about the ending; allow me just to say that it turns out to be Disney-like. The movie is not so dramatic. I even laughed from time to time!
35mm, re-rating. What a sadness to review certain films after so many years and only discover the will that in a certain period formed us, namely the politic of authors. Coppola, in this film, failed the synthesis that with the Godfathers had found (especially with the second tomo) and above all did not find the musicality he so much sought (and made seminal in "One From the Heart"). An often amateurish movie.
Howe, howe, howe! It well captures the athmosphere of the 30's. The jazz, the sound, the dance show. But what is entirely underdeveloped is crime. Remember, we are in the middle of prohibition, mafia and gang rivalism in New York! Apparently Coppola has other intensions. What can that be? A musical-gangsterfilm-jazztrumpeterbiography-gangstercartoon-mixture? Maybe in 1984 he had Rob Marshall's "Chicago" in his mind.
For all of the flaws (sadly, the lead performance from Gere is one of them), this is a film that rattles along at a great pace, features some gorgeously choreographed shots, and has a cast list that also includes Gregory Hines, Diane Lane, James Remar, Bob Hoskins, Fred Gwynne, Nicolas Cage, and many other familiar faces. And the scene involving Hoskins, Gwynne and a watch is simply wonderful.
Unfortunately, I felt 'The Cotton Club' suffered from a very uneven script. The arcs of Sandman and Lila Rose are too underdeveloped. I know this suffered from a troubled production, and I have heard that Coppola made a directors cut that adds around another thirty minutes - it would be interesting to see if that film is more satisfying.