Title – tick, tick…BOOM! (2021)
Director – Lin-Manuel Miranda (feature debut)
Cast – Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus, Vanessa Hudgens, Bradley Whitford
Plot – Based on his own musical, this musical biopic follows theater composer Jonathan Larson (Garfield) as he draws close to his 30th birthday while trying to navigate his friendships, relationships and career aspirations in the cutthroat world of Broadway.
“Everything you are about to see is true… except for the parts Jonathan made up”
Review by Eddie on 13/12/2021
His conquered the musical world with works in the likes of smash hits such as In the Heights and his child that turned into a phenomenon Hamilton but stage performer, actor, creative and all round bundle of energy Lin-Manuel Miranda isn’t going to rest on his laurels anytime soon with the Netflix released tick, tick…BOOM! marking the talented all rounder’s first foray in the directors chair in what’s an ambitious and unique take on the musical biopic.
The true story of famed theater composer Jonathan Larson, with BOOM! based on the writers own stage play, Miranda and his leading man Andrew Garfield take us on a wild, honest and sometimes heartwarming ride through the New York City landscape of Broadway, subways and working class pilgrims trying their best to pay electrical bills as we follow Larson creeping towards his creative goals ever so slowly while the impending milestone of 30 hangs over his head like a millstone.
There’s a lot of ground to cover in telling the story of Larson’s plight to make a name for himself in an industry that is nigh on impossible to get a look into but Miranda has a clear affiliation for his subject matter and the broader musical/play game overall and he makes for a solid choice in shining a light on a man that was clearly a once in a lifetime like character who refused to let go of his dreams even when the odd’s were stacked against him.
BOOM! is a more polished film than you’d usually expect from a first time director, some scenes including standout renditions of some of BOOM’s most famous songs such as Sunday and Therapy are the type of works you’d expect from a long time industry veteran, but Miranda isn’t able to make all his films beats tick at once with Jonathan and his relationship with long suffering girlfriend Susan (played by an underused Alexandra Shipp) feeling only half-baked and some other song and dance numbers failing to make much of a mark.
What does undeniably make a mark in the film though is the performance of the arguably never better Andrew Garfield who not only embodies Larson in a physical sense but also on a whole different level and the spirit and vitality that Garfield gives to Miranda’s film is one of an actor operating at the peak of his powers.
Whether it be singing and dancing or confronting demons in his own life with friends and loved ones, Garfield is awards worthy in BOOM! and the films biggest asset and after a few quiet years its fantastic to see the likable and talented actor get time to really shine with the spotlight entirely on him.
Final Say –
A vibrant musical bio that doesn’t always hit with its many swings but thanks to its leading man and enthusiastic direction, tick, tick…BOOM! is a film for the converts and the uninitiated and a worthy examination of the life of a very unique individual.
3 1/2 Macintosh computers out of 5