Across The Universe (2007)

(On DVD, May 2008) “Unusual” starts to describe this picture but doesn’t do justice. Take the conceit of structuring a 1960s romance around Beatles songs, and then add Julie Taymor’s visual intensity and you’ll get a better idea of this film. Oh, it’s not entirely successful: the film is high on stunts and low on sustained interest, most of the time being spent waiting for the next flash of interest. The ending takes far too long, and the portrait of the period ends up skewed toward its most exciting fringe elements. But as a heightened portrait of reality, it definitely has its moments, though those moments may end up being farther apart than one would expect. It’s a curiosity, though I expect that Beatles fan with an excellent knowledge of the group’s musical catalog will be far more entertained than casual second-generation fans. The DVD features a pretty good commentary track by director Julie Taymor.

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