Yes, musicals are about the music. Meaning that is the most important part, but it does not mean that nothing else matters. Musicals are still films. They still have to involve strong direction, good dialogue, decent acting, and a story which draws you in enough to make you be invested. Now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Ode to Passion seems to have forgotten about the importance of the other stuff.
Film musicals have had a roller coaster history. While some like West Side Story, Chicago, Moulin Rouge, and Into the Woods have been praised and drawn people in to buy tickets there have been some big flops like Grease 2, Phantom of the Opera, Nine, and the recent Cats. Admittedly, it is hard to get the right mixture of story and song. Song which naturally flows from the story. Takes good writing and talented people.
Writer-director Jack Danini (first film) obviously loves the genre and the city of New York. That comes through in this film. What does not really come through is the vision and talent involved. Maybe due to poor execution. Maybe hampered by the obviously tiny budget. Who knows? Just that the end product is nothing to sing from the hills about.
Tale as old as time. Ode to Passion is about…well, passion. Or love. A solid jumping off point one would think. Audiences love a good love story. We all want to love and be loved, so the relate factor is usually high. What kind of tripped me up right off the bat is how the non-singing parts or the dialogue is all in verse. Sounds kinda Shakespeare like, but no way near that well written. Ended up just coming off as awkward.
Michael (Giuseppe Barusilio – Dead Man Down) is a writer who lives in New York City. He loves his city and soon finds himself falling in love with aspiring actress Sarah (Julia Nightingale – appeared in episodes of Evil and Project: Girl). Young love is great until it isn’t. Things are made difficult by the fact that Sarah suffers from an addiction problem. Still Michael wants to believe that love can conquer all. Will his love be enough?
A film that wears its heart proudly on its sleeve, there is an almost old fashioned feel to the love story here. Instead you see its quirky nature as it tries to tell a modern tale of love. Modern though it falls back on the oft used trope of a roadblock to love. A series of non surprises ensue.
Here you will find 18 original songs of many varieties and styles. Stylistically they range from 80s power ballad to 2020 sounding pop ditty. While for the most part none of songs bomb, there are precious few standouts here with only one or two making me want to hum along. The cast is made up of a nice mix of Broadway veterans and up-and-comers.
You can watch this film on Amazon Prime Video.