The Commitments is a 1991 comedy-drama film directed by Alan Parker. A film adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s novel of the same name, the film tells a story of working class Dubliners who form a soul band. With a screenplay adapted by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, and Doyle himself, The Commitments is an international co-production between companies in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was filmed on location in Dublin.
Jimmy Rabbitte aspires to manage the world’s greatest band, with only one music in mind: soul. Disgusted with bands in Ireland, he assembles a soul band in the tradition of Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, and Wilson Pickett. Jimmy holds auditions at his parents’ home and assembles a group of young musicians. Unlike his idols, Jimmy’s band is white. With the help of Joey “The Lips” Fagan, the veteran musician of the band who has unlikely stories about meeting and working with famous musicians, Jimmy begins to whip the members into shape – coming together beautifully onstage, only to have the group fall apart in a clash of egos.
The Commitments gained a positive reception from critics, as it holds an 88% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 40 reviews.
The Commitments was voted best Irish film of all time in a 2005 poll sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey and launched a generation of Irish musicians and actors.
An image of four of the actors, in character, was featured on an Irish postage stamp as part of the Ireland 1996: Irish Cinema Centenary series issued by An Post. The image includes band manager Jimmy Rabbitte (portrayed by Arkins), along with the three female backup singers Imelda Quirke (portrayed by Ball), Natalie Murphy (Doyle) and Bernie McGloughlin (Gallagher).
Alan Parker’s adaptation of Roddy Doyle’s crackerjack novel The Commitments kept its focus on the music — the classic American R&B and soul the titular workingman band cranked out in pubs across Ireland. As a book and film, The Commitments was all about love of music, so it didn’t matter if the soundtrack offered workmanlike versions of oldies the band and audience knew by heart: as long as it was done with some, well, soul, the film would work, and the soundtrack would too.
In that sense, the Commitments were a cousin to the Blues Brothers, John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd’s tribute to the very same music but where Jake and Elwood managed to hire Stax’s house band (such are the perks of stardom) , the group Parker assembled were working Irish musicians. This would seem to lend The Commitments some degree of authenticity and it does to a certain extent, as these guys can crank out familiar favorites without missing a step, but the description of working musicians suggests that there is some grit here, which there’s not. After all, this is music for a movie, so it is cleanly produced: the horns have a punch, the guitars are crisp, the drums tight and neat, all the better to showcase the bar band growl of Andrew Strong — his Otis worship comes out like Rod Stewart crossed with Mick Hucknall — and Maria Doyle’s salute to Aretha Franklin. All of this sounds fine, if a bit generic: these are great songs performed ably and if they’re not distinctive, they at least suit the spirit of the film’s open-hearted hero worship.(by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
Andrew Strong – Angeline Ball – Bronagh Gallagher – Dave Finnegan – Dick Massey – Félim Gormley – Glen Hansard – Johnny Murphy – Kenneth McCluskey – Maria Doyle – Michael Aherne – Robert Arkins
Angeline Ball (vocals, background vocals)
Conor Brady (guitar)
Fran Breehan (drums)
Paul Bushnell (bass)
Ronan Dooney (trumpet)
Maria Doyle (vocals, background vocals)
Eamonn Flynn (keyboards)
Bronagh Gallagher (background vocals)
Carl Geraghty (saxophone)
Félim Gormley (saxophone)
Andrew Strong (vocals)
Robert Arkins (vocals on 08. + 14.)
Alex Acuña (percussion)
Mitchell Froome (keyboards)
Niamh Kavanagh (vocals on 05. + 09.)
Dean Parks (guitar)
01. Mustang Sally (Rice) 4.02
02. Take Me To The River (Green/Hdoges) 3.36
03. Chain Of Fools (Covay) 2.58
04. The Dark End Of The Street (Moman/Penn) 2.34
05. Destination Anywhere (Ashford/Simpson) 3.08
06. I Can’t Stand The Rain (Peebles/Miller/Bryant) 3.12
07. Try A Little Tenderness (Campbell/Connelly) 4.31
08. Treat Her Right (Kurtz/Head) 3.35
09. Do Right Woman Do Right Man (Moman/Penn) 3.15
10. Mr. Pitiful (Redding/Cropper) 2.07
11. I Never Loved A Man (Shannon) 3.09
12. In The Midnight Hour (Cropper/Pickett) 2.21
13. Bye Bye Baby (Wells) 3.21
14. Slip Away (Daniels/Terrell/Armstrong) 4.27