Passing Strange – Movie Review
A young black artist leaves his Los Angeles digs and travels to Europe to find himself. A theatrical stage production of the original Broadway musical.
“Passing Strange, The Movie”, interestingly enough, is Spike Lee’s movie about “Passing Strange, the play”. I saw the play and I thought it was really terrific. It was Daniel Breaker’s breakout role, no pun intended, of an autobiographical journey of Stu, who was the master of ceremonies, the narrator, who talks about his life growing up in South Central LA and feeling really anti-establishment and not really being able to deal with middle class black mores, and so went to Europe to discover himself. I loved it as a play. The problem is as a movie, you lose all the intimacy and all the energy, and it certainly didn’t help that the DVD itself had some problems. I’ve seen plays that have been magnificently recreated as movies. “Chicago” comes to mind, “My Fair Lady”, “Oliver”, and even ones that have less scenery and more intensity, but this one, I think, didn’t work. You lost all of the intensity since it’s performed on a bare stage without costumes — I suppose Spike Lee’s intent was to document a certain kind of experience in the African-American community, but it worked in the theater but doesn’t work theatrically as a movie. So, one star.