Film review by Peter Travers
You expect a hot dose of bada-bing, what with David Chase, creator of HBO’s groundbreaking crime drama The Sopranos, making his feature debut as a writer-director. Instead, Chase offers a gritty, graceful salute to rock & roll. Like Douglas (John Magaro), his film’s protagonist, Chase grew up in suburban New Jersey in the 1960s playing covers of Buddy Holly and the Stones in his garage. Unlike Douglas, Chase never went farther than his garage. But the impact of the music, the way it opened doors to a larger world that embraced TV, film, politics and renegade social change, never left Chase. His love for the period permeates every frame.
Douglas and his bandmates Eugene (Jack Huston of Boardwalk Empire) and Wells (Will Brill) vie for the attentions of Grace (a luminous Bella Heathcote), and they comically and touchingly prepare for a fame that never comes. Home from college, Douglas debates his old-school father (a splendid James Gandolfini), who hates his Dylanesque hair and Cuban heels. Later, at a restaurant, when Dad confesses to an affair and a possibly terminal illness, father and son make a connection that is more heart-piercing for being so tentative. Chase shows a natural affinity for actors, who are uniformly excellent. The awkwardness comes in letting some of the stories breathe at the expense of others, suggesting something lost in the cutting. The music, expertly curated by Steven Van Zandt, is in the film’s DNA. Watching Antonioni’s Blow-Up at a theater with Grace, Douglas complains about the lack of scoring in a silent park scene. “The trees are the music,” Grace tells him. She knows the secrets that lie in the spaces between words and music. So does Chase. His ardent, acutely observed debut makes him, at 67, a filmmaker to watch.
First trailer of Not Fade Away released
Check out the full press release below:
David Chase’s NOT FADE AWAY announced by
THE FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
as the Centerpiece Gala Selection for the 2012 NEW YORK FILM FESTIVAL
NEW YORK, August 15, 2012 —The Film Society of Lincoln Center announced today that David Chase’s NOT FADE AWAY will make its World Premiere on Saturday, October 6 as the Centerpiece Gala selection for the 50th New York Film Festival (September 28-October 14).
Making his feature directing debut, David Chase’s (The Sopranos) coming-of-age movie is set in New Jersey in 1964 where a group of friends are inspired to form their own rock band fronted by a gifted singer-songwriter (terrific newcomer John Magaro). The film masterfully captures the era’s conflicting attitudes and ideologies, all set to a dynamic soundtrack produced by the legendary Steven Van Zandt. The film also stars Jack Huston, Will Brill, Bella Heathcote, James Gandolfini, Brad Garrett and Christopher McDonald. To be released by Paramount Vantage, the film’s roll-out will begin on December 21, 2012.
Rose Kuo, Executive Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center, said, “It’s a privilege to welcome David Chase to the New York Film Festival with his feature film debut. NOT FADE AWAY’s fun, music-infused world created by Chase offers an endearing and complex portrait of a young man’s coming-of-age in the 60s and features terrific work by an ensemble cast of exciting new talent.”
Chase said, “NOT FADE AWAY is a personal film with a backdrop very important to me, a period in American music that was one of the best. To have the film debut at the NYFF exceeds my wildest dreams and the dreams of everyone associated with the movie. So many of my favorite films have been revealed to the public at the NYFF. I’m honored and thrilled.”
The 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring top films from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Peña also includes: Melissa Anderson, Contributor, Village Voice; Scott Foundas, Associate Program Director, The Film Society of Lincoln Center; Todd McCarthy, Chief Film Critic, The Hollywood Reporter; and Amy Taubin, Contributing Editor, Film Comment and Sight and Sound.
The New York Film Festival is generously sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, American Airlines, The New York Times, Stella Artois, HBO, WABC, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council on the Arts.