Fade To Black

"OK"

Fade To Black Review


In 2003, Brooklyn rapper Jay-Z (a.k.a. Shawn Carter) called it quits after an eight-year career. Compared to most rap artists, he ruled the charts and the airwaves for an eternity. His final album, "The Black Album" (2003) was meant to be a farewell to his fans, and now this feature film documents his final concert, a huge, sold-out affair in Madison Square Garden.

"Fade to Black" presents the show itself -- with guest appearances by Beyonce (Jay-Z's highly publicized girlfriend), Mary J. Blige, Ghostface Killah (from the Wu-Tang Clan) and Missy Elliot -- as well as behind-the-scenes footage during the making of the album.

A concert can be filmed in only so many ways, and directors Pat Paulson and Michael John Warren go with the usual technique, using way too many shots of the audience rapping along with Jay-Z's lyrics. On the big screen, however, they manage to capture the hugeness and excitement of this grand show. The sound is bold and intoxicating, but the words are often muffled; it helps if you already know the songs.

Unfortunately, at 107 minutes, the concert tends to lag, especially since Jay-Z slips offstage from time to time for costume changes.

The film's studio footage is far more interesting. Watching Jay-Z in action commands a certain respect. When he visits legendary producer Rick Rubin (who virtually started the rap industry with the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC), Rubin marvels at Jay-Z's ability to "write" his rhymes without actually writing anything down. Another technician boasts that the rapper can keep up to 30 songs in his head at once, like a human iPod.

One of my favorite recent CDs is DJ Danger Mouse's remix of "The Black Album," which replaces all the backing tracks with music from the Beatles' "White Album." Dubbed "The Grey Album," it adds a certain autumnal finality to the music, as if ghosts rising up from rock 'n' roll's past have scooped Jay-Z up and carried him off into the dusk.

In a way, "The Grey Album" goes farther in explaining the rapper's retirement than this film does. In all his time on camera, Jay-Z never reveals his feelings about retiring. He never seems sad, conflicted or relieved. We have no idea what made him want to retire or what he plans to do next.

If he never comes back, which isn't likely, this film will be a reminder of his talent. But if he does, "Fade to Black" will serve merely as a souvenir for those who made it to the big show.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 102 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 14th October 1980

Distributed by: American Cinema

Production compaines: Dakota Films, Ealing Studios, Endgame Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 45%
Fresh: 5 Rotten: 6

IMDB: 5.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Pat Paulson, Michael John Warren

Starring: as Orson Welles, as Tommaso Moreno, as Lea Padovani, as Brewster, as Aida Padovani

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.