Patti Cake$ Review
Director: Geremy Jasper.
Where did all these people come from!? Who are these people? Let's start with Geremy Jasper, who not only wrote and directed the film, but wrote all the music for it too! It's his main feature debut and the honesty and grittiness immediately reminded me of John Carney's musical-journey films.
And Danielle Macdonald? In short, incredible! The Aussie actress who's come out of nowhere to learning to rap and talk with a convincing American accent. She plays the main character, Patricia Dombrowski a.k.a. Killer P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$ who's already struggling with life without the added frustration of having an ambition to be a rapstar.
It does mirror 8 mile very much with family strife and paternal pressures, the juggling of work and the feeling of rejection and having the whole world set against you apart from those few that believe and support you. But it explores these relationships, in particular with her downtrodden, somewhat lost, mother that once had the same aspirations of being a different kind of singing star. It's actually this part of the film that really sets it aside from 8 mile.
It also gives an honest insight into how ruthless and brutal the music industry is, how saturated it is with judgemental, nasty and greedy people that cripple the art. It's a grand vision of how society is too quick to trampled out people's dreams and that talent and hard work isn't all you need to success.
The characters are borderline ludicrous, but not unbelievable, just way out there. The performances of supporting cast are brilliant and I believe this is going to pave a way to stardom for pretty much all of them, including the director, who's style appears very fresh and raw. There's some great shots in an otherwise difficult film to shoot. The opening scene was probably very misleading and doesn't represent the rest of the film at all but I did enjoy the imagining of how Patti is lifted by music, it was something I could really relate to.
As for the music, I'm not sure if it was purposefully done or not, but the amateur feel to it in the beginning is almost off putting, but this is what makes it real and far less Hollywood. Jasper's lyrically talent is either ingenious or crazy rhyming in references to current pop culture. The polished tracks, even with autotune are impressive and quite catchy that stay with you long after the film. Tracks like "Tuff Love" and "PBNJ" will be instantly recognisable.
Overall, it's a mighty feat from both Jasper and Macdonald with no surprise it's getting mass attention from the film festivals. This could have so easily missed it's widespread theatrical release but I'm glad to see it's made the big screen in such a way. Sadly, it's not totally overwhelming or inspirational as one might expect. It's actually more touching and personal for that.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 7
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 0