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Not fade away

Not fade away

USA 2012 - with John Margo, Jack Huston, James Gandolfini, Will Brill, Bella Heathcote ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Not fade away
Genre:Drama, Music film
Direction:David Chase
Cinema release:26.09.2013
Production country:USA 2012
Running time:Approx. 112 min.
Rated:Ages 6+

New Jersey in the 1960s: Douglas Damiano (John Magaro) dreams of becoming a big rock star. Like his great idols, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, he wants to use music not only to reap riches, but also to conquer the hearts of girls - and especially that of the beautiful Grace (Bella Heathcote), who apparently has a weakness for musicians. When Douglas joins the band that includes his buddy Gene (Jack Huston), he soon gets his first chance to make an impression on Grace. When Gene accidentally swallows a joint at a party they're supposed to play at, Doug gets to take over as lead singer. When this goes down well not only with Grace, but also with the other members of the band, tensions grow between Douglas and Gene. And the closer he gets to the woman of his heart and his dream of a career as a musician, the further he drifts away from his old friends and family.

The story of Not fade away, the directorial debut of Sopranos creator David Chase, is heavily autobiographical. It is clear from the film that the director has incorporated many of his own experiences into the proceedings here. In doing so, Chase is very successful in capturing the mood of life in a small suburb in the 1960s. While the music, the hairstyles and clothes of the characters, as well as the décor, capture the zeitgeist of the late 60s very nicely, it is the small snapshots that make this film seem so timeless. Whether it's Douglas' crushes, the young musicians' conversations with each other, or the conflicts between Douglas and his father (James Tony Sporano Gandolfini in one of his last roles), it all feels very authentic and thus easily translates into the new millennium. Also, the fact that Chase has cast most of the roles with relatively unused faces makes the characters even more real to the viewer and thus more accessible.

Besides all the positive points, however, some less successful aspects also tarnish the viewing pleasure. For example, at many moments the story plods along rather uneventfully, at times rushing through events and allowing many weeks to pass in a matter of seconds, while other moments linger in dogged slowness. But a lot of it is absorbed, as long as the viewer can let himself drift by the very special mood of the production. Really only the last 15 minutes have a negative effect. In itself, there is a perfect point where the movie should be over. It's true that this moment is a bit cheesy and also a bit cliché. At the same time, it's just beautiful and the perfect ending for this coming-of-age story. The concluding quarter of an hour feels like it's carelessly glued to it. Even though Douglas' aimlessness is perfectly realized here, as a viewer you're left wondering what it's all about until the sudden and less than satisfying ending.

Besides these minor flaws, Not fade away is a truly beautiful film that's in roughly the same league as That thing you do. While this directorial effort from Tom Hanks is a bit more upbeat and straightforward, it gives off a similar vibe to David Chase's directorial debut. For those who love the music of the late 60s and appreciate more sophisticated youth dramas, this very special musical film can be warmly recommended. Worth seeing

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


Cinema trailer for the movie "Not fade away (USA 2012)"
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