This rock opera tells the story of one year in the life of a group of bohemians struggling in modern day East Village New York. The story centers around Mark and Roger, two roommates. While a former tragedy has made Roger numb to life, Mark tries to capture it through his attempts to make a film. In the year that follows, the group deals with love, loss, AIDS, and modern day life in one truly powerful story. Written by
Although the film is set in 1989 and 1990, there is a clear shot of a mural that reads "In Memory of Celia Cruz". Celia Cruz died in on July 16, 2003. See more »
Mark, Angel, Maureen, Roger, Collins, Benjamin Coffin III, Mimi:
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes - how do you measure a year in the life? How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love... seasons of love.
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a film so pointless, so banal, you'll ask for the two and half hours back
RENT the film works for exactly four minutes. The opening credits role and then the cast sings 521,600 Minutes and its all downhill from there. What follows a nice opening is a film so pointless, so banal, you'll ask as my wife did for the two and half hours back you spent watching RENT.
I remember when RENT opened on Broadway. I remember I had a buddy who camped out on the street to see the play. I remember people called RENTheads would record the shows in other cities and trade bad audio and video of the off Broadway productions starring Molly Ringwald and Doogie Howser. It was a phenomenon based on the tragic death of it's creator Jonathon Larson more than a well made show, and so the play stayed untouched, unfiddled around with, for who would dare touch the Genius of Larson? Who would dare walk on his grave? If I were the director of this movie I would have begged for a rewrite. If ever there was a film dying for some heart, some central core, its RENT. It's jumbled, it's messy, it contains characters that don't mesh, there's no coherence, no one worth rooting for, no one worth hating, and that's wrong. The passion and drive of the clunky play may work as live theater, heck CATS works as live theater, but RENT is charmless, pointless, and murky and it really shouldn't be.
RENT follows the exploits "in the year of the life" of Mark (Anthony Rapp) the angst ridden film maker, Roger (Adam Pascal) the Rockstar with AIDS, Mimi (Rosario Dawson) the heroin addicted Stripper with a heart of gold (and AIDS), Tom (Jesse L. Martin) the unemployed professor with AIDS, Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) the Drag Queen (with AIDS) who steals Tom's heart, Maureen (Idina Menzel) the performance artist and Mark's Ex-Girlfriend, and Joanne (Tracie Thomas) the Lawyer who falls in love with Maureen. They are the bohemians, they can't pay the rent, they can't pay the heat, and everyday they stand the chance of being evicted. So they sing. They sing a lot, and at one point at a protest, they Moo. That causes a near riot. I wanted to laugh, but I didn't because I didn't want to be mean to the rest of people in the theater. But I had a feeling they were watching a different movie cause they kept clapping.
Why was this film so joyless? Why were the main characters so whiny? Why does RENT have no real heart? The film just assumes that we the audience will like these people and so it makes no attempt to allow them to win our hearts. It assumes that because the script has introduced us to them that they are friends. But half the film revolves around how these people don't get along. They are disgruntled about life and yet the film praises that fact and instead of doing anything about it they whine. They hate progress, they protest the idea of personal responsibility, and fight the man, for what? Nothing but a crappy apartment in New York City.
The most honest moment in the film comes when the Mark films a homeless women who was being harassed by the cops. The homeless women look at him and screams something like "don't exploit me, get a job." These people are not happy, the lifestyle they promote is pointless and the film fails to take a stand on any of it.
The film also doesn't work on a purely technical level. The dialog clunks haphazardly into the songs. The actors take a moment to reflect before the songs take off, and none of the songs are worth humming when you leave the theater. But you'll have 521,600 minutes attacking you in your dreams. If the screenplay would have been retooled to fit the screen instead of the screen trying to replicate the stage a better movie would have emerged. But RENT will appeal only to those who love the play.
The other glaring problem is the actors seem too old to embody these parts. With actors culled from the original off-Broadway cast, it casts and even deeper gloom over the film. We all have to grow up, this group of 30-somethings edge on pathetic. A new cast of twenty-somethings would have worked a bit better.
So save your money. You thank me I promise.
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