by Brad Nelson
Here’s another movie on my “You must see this before you die” list. There’s just so much junk in our culture, especially now. So why not look back at a movie itself that falls in love with looking back?
“Radio Days” doesn’t even need a video track to rate at least a 3. It plays such wonderful music throughout. Yes, the film is bit of a tribute to radio, but it’s much more a tribute to an era.
What can one say about the plot other than that Woody Allen knows how to set a mood and to tell a story. If you didn’t know there was a director behind the camera, you would just assume that you were watching people in their natural surroundings, their lives set in motion by being in the midst of living them; And then someone had the idea to turn a camera on them and record events.
Of course, this naturalistic effect requires incredible planning and a deft artistic touch, and probably a hint of genius. The end result is a movie you’d like to step into. It’s not, as so often is the case today, one of those loud and obnoxious movies that assaults you and makes you want to mentally keep your distance from it. This one invites you in and you gladly accept the invitation.
When I watch a movie such as this, I feel that the writer and director are whispering to me as if he had me in mind seated in the front row when he made the picture. Many a movie these days is in your face with blood and gore and stupid gimmicks or tricks. But “Radio Days” moves with extreme confidence knowing that the audience will welcome a good story if told well. No one need shout. Just point the camera and bathe in the glow of the silver screen, and this is something Woody Allen produces par excellence in “Radio Days.”
Woody Allen’s affection for this era, and perhaps for filmmaking in general, come through. This is a funny movie at times, sometimes sad, but never standoffishly cynical, bitter, or angry. I love the tone. Every time I see one of my favorite Woody Allen movies I think I’ve just seen him at his best. That’s what I feel about this one. Maybe he’s got several types of best. This is one of them. 3.999 flukes out of 5. A rare Brad-rated “must see.” • (796 views)