Tick, tick… BOOM!
Biography, Musical, Drama
Steven Levenson, Jonathan Larson
Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus
The story of the theater composer Jonathan Larson, nearing his 30th birthday and cruising through life and all it encompasses.
This biographical movie, based on true events and directed by Lin Manuel Miranda, the main star in Hamilton, tells us the story of Jonathan Larson verging on his 30th birthday and struggling to compose the final piece of his musical in 1990. The movie is based on Larson’s 1992 semi-autobiographical rock monologue musical with the same name. Larson would die at the age of 35, in 1996, victim of an aneurysm and would never see his most famous musical live on Broadway, Rent, which would play for 12 years and posthumously grant Larson 3 Tony Awards and 1 Pulitzer Prize.
In terms of pace, the first half of the movie is slower while the second half is extremely compelling.
Tick, tick… BOOM! is a movie which presents and addresses multiple issues – the struggle and pursuit of perfection by Larson to complete his musical; the anxiety, perfectly portrayed by Andrew Garfield, of a composer nearing 30 years old without a produced musical to his name, feeling he his running out of time (reiterated by the title of the movie); dealing with rejection after Larson’s work Superbia goes by unsold; the consternation that comes from comparison, shown by Larson constantly comparing himself to Stephen Sondhein, whom he idolizes and the loyalty and commitment to one’s principles and objectives and the toll this commitment can take on a personal level.
The movie also takes on an emotional turn after Larson’s closest friend, Michael, reveals something unexpected.
Andrew Garfield superbly depicts a frustrated but persistent composer, undeterred and commited to his craft despite various let-downs.
The movie is not only fulfilling in terms of musical and lyrical quality, but also a flawless balance between Larson’s professional and personal lives, often intertwined. Ultimately, it represents the race against time and truthfulness to one’s ideals.
by YKW // 22 February 2022
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