Somewhere during the making of this film adaptation of Danny Schur and Rick Chafe’s period musical Stand!, the project was seriously mishandled. Robert Adetuyi’s film version sounds like it should be on stage and looks as if it was written and shot for daytime television.
There’s no denying the passion of Stand!, or the relevant parallel context of immigrant minorities being refused their individual rights and organizing ways to protest, introducing the Winnipeg General Strike which eventually lead to change. There’s also no denying the amount of commitment that went into stying true to the musical genre and the effort within this film’ s production (the costuming and set design are on point).
Considering the story and the type of vigorous music presented, Stand! reminded me of Tom Hooper’s excellent adaptation of Les Misérables. However, what separates Les Misérables from Stand! is Hooper’s consistent vision. Adetuyi doesn’t seem to have a vision for Stand!. The film’s aesthetics are ill-defined and messy, and the results resemble an extended Heritage Minute that would play on TV in the 90s. This broad execution ends up effecting the way the audience perceives the movie’s overall message. Instead of the audience being inspired, we end up cringing through a lot of scenes.
Admittedly, I have not seen the original stage production of Stand!. But after watching this mediocre movie, I would still give it a shot. I left the film feeling disappointed, but also wanting to give the material the benefit of the doubt.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie