Clint Eastwood makes the wholesome sounds of the late 50s feel stylish and cool from the mouths of some less than scrupulous East Coast dwellers. Admittedly I’ve not seen the stage musical, but Eastwood’s Jersey Boys is bound by drama; a biopic interluded with the group’s gorgeous harmonies. It contains a plush palette of character and music along with some splendid cinematography which makes it straddle the line between being a frothy, fun jukebox musical while also being a rich and engaging drama, which happens to look great.
Jersey Boys tells the story of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons, from low life Mafia types with some good tunes in their locker, to number one recording artists. John Lloyd Young (reprising his role from the 2006 Broadway version) completely shows why he won so many awards for his portrayal of Frankie Valli on stage. His voice is succulent and the cast all blend together effortlessly, many of which are veterans of various Jersey Boys companies. As good as the music is, it was an inspired decision to consider a director such as Clint Eastwood for a jukebox musical as he really does get the best performances from his cast, tackling the material with an expert blend of fun and seriousness to make all the relationships feel authentic. Perhaps it’s a little too long and Jersey Boys is the sort of ‘rise and fall from fame’ story which has been told for the umpteenth time but Eastwood captures a stylish sense of place while the music charms and the simple drama is handled with real panache.
Jersey Boys is out on 20/06/14 in the UK and USA. Running time 134 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).
Review by David Rank