• Home  > 
  • Cinema  > 
  • Across the Universe Film Review

Across the Universe (M)

Film image

The ViewAuckland Review

StarStarStarStarStar
Review byMatthew Turner26/09/2007

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 127 mins

Julie Taymor's love-it-or-hate-it musical is hugely ambitious but it works brilliantly, thanks to strong performances, a fantastic script, terrifically integrated songs and Taymor's inspired direction.

What's it all about?
Cleverly using the Beatles' career trajectory as the template for a story about the 1960s, Across the Universe stars Jim Sturgess as Jude, a restless Liverpudlian lad who travels to America, where he meets energetic student Maxwell (Joe Anderson) and his gorgeous sister, Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). Soon the three of them are dropping out of society and sharing a flat in Greenwich Village, along with sexy singer Sadie (Dana Fuchs), guitar guru JoJo (Martin Luther) and lesbian ex-cheerleader Prudence (T.V. Carpio).

With the cast bursting into Beatles songs every few minutes, director Julie Taymor cleverly uses the music to illustrate the action, as Jude, Lucy and Max move from the heady, poppy rush of falling in love to embracing drugs and the drop-out culture. However, the trio's blissful, hippie-ish existence is shattered by the spectre of Vietnam, particularly when Max gets drafted and Lucy joins the protest movement.

The Good
On paper, it sounds like a terrible idea, but the film works brilliantly, thanks to Taymor's inspired direction and a superb script by screenwriting legends Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais. Sturgess and Wood are both terrific in the lead roles and there's strong support from Carpio and Anderson, as well as high profile cameos from the likes of Bono (as Doctor Robert), Eddie Izzard (as Mr Kite) and, gloriously, seven sexy Salma Hayeks dressed in nurse's uniforms as Rita.

The Great
The musical numbers are beautifully shot, with the cast actually performing the songs themselves, rather than lip synching. Highlights include Carpio's beautiful rendition of I Wanna Hold Your Hand and a chilling military version of I Want You (She's So Heavy). That said, though it looks amazing, Eddie Izzard's cartoonish version of Being For The Benefit of Mr Kite doesn't quite work and feels out of place.

Worth seeing?
Across the Universe is a hugely enjoyable, brilliantly directed film that's a must-see for Beatles fans, even if the purists may disagree. Unmissable.

Film Trailer

Across the Universe (M)
Across the Universe has been reviewed by 2 users
 
image
01 Serena (tbc)

Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Ifans

image
02 Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (tbc)

Harrison Ford, Karen Allen

image
03 Ex Machina (tbc)

Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Alicia Vikander

image
04 Men, Women & Children (tbc)

Kaitlyn Dever, Rosemarie DeWitt, Ansel Elgort, Jen...

image
05 Monty Python Live (Mostly) (tbc)

John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones...

Content updated: 01/11/2014 10:25
 

Latest Film Reviews

Engage

At The Flicks

Connect

Hitwise Award Winner