Not Fade Away: New York Film Festival 2012

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New York Film Festival 2012: Not Fade Away

New York Film Festival 2012: Not Fade Away


Trading gangsters for garage rock, Sopranos creator David Chase’s ’60s drama follows a young suburbanite (John Magaro, outstanding) whose rinky-dink maximum-R&B band offers him not just an entryway to the Garden State scene, but to the tumultuous era itself. Genre conventions show up right on schedule (conflicting egos, creative differences, make-or-break gigs), while the decade’s icons drop by for signposting guest appearances, but wistful or not, the film’s magical musical tour isn’t purely a nostalgia trip. Chase is also interested in the cultural upheaval of rock & roll, as well as the fallout: liberation without a rule book, long-haired kids turning into mentally unstable dopers and a generation gap embodied by James Gandolfini’s perplexed blue-collar pops. The offbeat dramatic rhythms and open-ended exchanges that the writer-director employed so beautifully in his landmark HBO series are put to good use here, especially in a Buñuelian set piece that finds our hero wandering dazed and confused on the Sunset Strip. That Chase felt the need to literalize his thesis with a surreal dance sequence near the end is a shame, but the abundance of grace notes everywhere else is more than enough to compensate for the discordant fade-out. (Opens Dec 21.)—David Fear

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