I didn't go into Idlewild expecting to see one of the best films of 2006. In fact, I didn't go into Idlewild, Bryan Barber's bootlegger/gangster musical, with any expectations. Perhaps Universal was equally perplexed. This really isn't a film you can effectively advertise in any traditional sense. The most challenging films are never that easy. Not having read about the film and not being a fan of musicals - the very thought of Moulin Rouge made my bowels quake - I approached Idlewild with apprehension. I'm a fan of Outkast. I've always preferred Andre 3000's quirk and funk to Big Boi's gangsta shuffle, but I came out of Idlewild with a much richer appreciation for the duo's talent.

You don't need to have heard a single song by Outkast to appreciate Idlewild's brilliance. The film has a life - at times almost fantastical - that springs from the screen and pounces and coos in your lap as though it's wooing you. Barber was a video clip director, he cut his teeth on three minute commercials for bands like Outkast, and he's got the polish down so tight it's almost part of the celluloid. At times it can be distracting. Sometimes there is so much happening on screen that you eyes overload and your brain shuts down. You just can't catch it all. But the music - that snaky (perfectly used) synth bass line, that flapping guitar work, the sugary gut punch of the horns - pulls you back into the film like a musical whirlpool.

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