The Irish are the blacks of Europe, Dubliners are the blacks of Ireland, and the North Siders are the blacks of Dublin ... so say it loud -- I'm black and I'm proud! Or so Jimmy Rabbitte (Robert Arkins) tells his slightly puzzled friends as he tries to assemble a rhythm & blues show band in a working class community in Dublin in Alan Parker's film The Commitments. Jimmy is a would-be music business wheeler and dealer, and he's decided what Dublin needs is a top-shelf soul band. However, top-shelf soul musicians are hard to find in Dublin, so he has to make do with what he can find. However, after a long round of auditions, Jimmy makes two inspired discoveries: Deco (Andrew Strong), an abrasive and alcoholic streetcar conductor who nevertheless has a voice like the risen ghost of Otis Redding, and Joey The Lips Fagan (Johnny Murphy), a horn player who knows soul music backwards and forwards and claims to have played with everyone from Wilson Pickett to Elvis Presley. Before long, the band -- called the Commitments -- is packing them in at local clubs. But do they have what it takes to make the big time? Based on the novel by Roddy Doyle, who also co-wrote the screenplay, The Commitments is sparked by fine performances by its young cast and enthusiastic performances of a number of '60s soul classics; the cast, who play their own instruments, reassembled the band for a concert tour after the film became a hit.~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide
Part of: The Barrytown Trilogy
The Barrytown Trilogy is an Irish comedy-drama media franchise centered on the Rabbittes, a working-class family from Barrytown, Dublin. It began in 1988 when Beacon Pictures and 20th Century Fox bought the rights to the 1987 novel The Commitments by Roddy Doyle shortly after it was published. The book was successful, as was Alan Parker's 1991 film adaptation. The film received cult status and is regarded as one of the best Irish films ever made. In 1999, the British Film Institute ranked the film at number 38 on its list of the "100 best British films of the century", based on votes from 1,000 leading figures of the film industry. A sequel novel, The Snapper, was published in 1990, followed by a film adaptation in 1993. A third novel, The Van, was published and shortlisted for the 1991 Booker Prize, followed by a film adaptation in 1996.