tick tick BOOM is a splendid movie. It is based on the life and work of Jonathan Larson. He was a playwright who lived his entire life in New York. The movie takes us through his autobiographical rock musical titled tick tick BOOM. It is rated 7.6 on IMDb, but personally, it should have been rated higher.
The movie is a mix of so many things that anyone can easily relate to. Friendships, love, a career, and Jon’s pet project. Jon has to navigate through the maze of life, balancing all of his relations, working as a waiter while waiting for his big break.
The Strong-Willed Artist
The movie is basically Jon, played by Andrew Garfield, performing tick tick BOOM, while we take dive into the events as he performs. Right from the beginning, we see that Jon is not ready to give up on his project, Superbia. He has been writing it for 8 years, and we arrive just in time to see it being performed.
Jon is broke and surrounded by his friends. He has to work at a diner while getting his show ready. The clock is ticking, and he is almost at the age of 30. He needs money to hire a band, he needs his opportunity to work out. Alas, his agent is indifferent and does not return his calls, his friend gets hospitalized, and his girlfriend wants to move away from New York so she can work as a dance teacher.
Jon is pressured by everything going on around him but focuses on one thing, Superbia. His perseverance is inspiring, but it is also sad to see the people around him move away until he is left alone for a brief period.
However, Jon powers through and finishes the one song he needs, and his show is presented.
The Musical Movie
The movie is deeply engaging, especially with the clever use of ticking and music. In every scene where there is a breakthrough, or when there is a revelation, the ticking sound sets the mood for the viewer. It takes the viewer back to see the big picture once again, reminding them of what has transpired but also focuses on that particular scene with intensity.
Music is one of the best parts of the movie, apart from Garfield’s and the cast’s stellar performance in each and every scene. The ability of the movie to express every major event, joyous or melancholic, through a song is just alluring. The viewer is bound to break into song along with the movie. Each song brings out emotions in the viewer, making us feel as though we were sitting right there in the front seat, listening to the actual tick tick BOOM.
The content of most songs are just what the characters might be doing, such as serving the Sunday rush at the diner, or the history of Jon’s apartment. It is just amazing to think how Jonathan Larson would have actually come up with his songs.
Moreover, the shift from Garfield performing tick tick BOOM for an audience to the events as they happened is just perfect. There is one particular scene where Jon and Susan are arguing, which is also a part of the musical. The swift back-and-forth presentation of the sequence makes the scene even more intense and makes the viewer feel the emotions running high at that point.
The movie focuses on the character of Jonathan Larson, but it is not just about him. If not for the other characters, Larson would be working in a diner and writing his musical at home. What makes it a challenge for him is the relationships around him, his friends, his girlfriend, his affinity to true art.
Along with Garfield, Alexandra Shipp and Robin de Jesus do an amazing job of filling in their characters. From supporting Jon to showing him they need the space, the characters have been well enacted. Each of the major scenes involving these people is either heartwarming or heartbreaking.
Andrew Garfield’s own performance is just stellar. His quirky character is wonderful to watch as he weathers the storm, trying to stay afloat where he feels the time is running out. His facial expressions in each scene and each song are enough to show how well he has understood the assignment.
To the viewer, it feels like this is exactly how the real Jonathan Larson must have lived his life. How he might have broken into song whenever he felt squeezed by life. How he must have spent eight years on his project. But how he still had trouble coming up with that one song to complete it. And how he must have felt when he watched his show presented for the first time. How he would have actually performed his musical, tick, tick… BOOM, if he had still lived when it became a three-actor piece.
Well, I have spoiled the movie enough for the reader here, but no more. Grab some popcorn and turn to your screen. You will not regret watching tick tick BOOM.
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