The Cotton Club Movie Review
Starring Richard Gere as a cornet player-cum-movie star (Gere even plays his own solos in the film) and Diane Lane as a kind of singer/hooker/kept woman, the film gets off to a wild start, throwing us into Coppola's archetypal world of violence and betrayal. Gere and Lane have an uneasy romance, the problem being they are low on the totem and the gangsters who control them wouldn't care for any such hanky-panky.
Alas, the film derails midway through, when Lane's character virtually disappears and the film detours deep into the mob scene and away from the "love" story. A subplot involving Gregory Hines (playing an ambitious tap dancer, wow!) has virtually nothing to do with the rest of the film. It comes off as tacked on because it is tacked on.
Coppola tries to make the movie seem real by imbuing it with a great soundtrack of jazz standards and appearances by actors playing the celebrities of the day (Jimmy Cagney, Gloria Swanson -- too bad none of the actors look the part). But in the end, the lack of a solid story is what takes The Cotton Club into nowhereland -- the main problem being not that the film is based on a book, but that it's based on a picture book.
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