"Music for the smart and the dumb"
Sweet and Lowdown
Review by Ross Anthony

Two words could not more aptly describe Woody Allen's lead Character Emmet Ray, played picture perfectly by Sean Penn. Emmet smokes on the jazz guitar of the early 1900's (remember that century?)and is considered the best of his era ... well except for this gypsy guy in France.

Penn does a slick job of fluttering his fingers across the fretboard, you might actually think he's playing. Perhaps it helps to have a brother in the music world. I've got two of Michael Penn's CD's, if you like thoughtful alternative/folk rock - I'd recommend giving him a try.

But the real charm of the movie is Emmet's sweet and lowdown appeal. Emmet's idea of showing a "dame" a good time is taking her to the local dump to shoot rats. It's one of his favorite things to do, so why wouldn't it be enchanting to share with his date?

In a marvelous scene boozer, Romeo, pimp, kleptomaniac, music prodigy, Emmet Ray and his buddy are out looking for babes when they stumble across Hattie (Samantha Morton) and her friend. They quibble over which man should get which woman. Emmet, happy to be paired with "the small one" (Hattie), becomes uncontrollably fidgety when he learns Hattie is mute. "Hey, let's trade - just for a while," he pleads with his buddy, "This is my day off, I want a talking girl!"

He's so offensively childlike in his frankness, while a genius with the guitar. That makes for a rich character. Penn, one of the finest actors of our time, revels in all his sincere absurdity.

Samantha Morton aptly fills her character's shoes without a word, while Uma Thurman showing up later adds little to the picture. Woody himself appears as one of a panel of modern-day jazz experts who comment on Emmet Ray stories directly to the camera, making the film a mock-documentary.

I'm not a big Woody Allen fan, but this is a good one.

  • Sweet and Lowdown. Copyright © 1999. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Sean Penn, Samantha Morton, Uma Thurman.
  • Written and Directed by Woody Allen.
  • Produced by Jean Doumanian at Sony Pictures.


Copyright © 1999. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

chili4 special olympians
power5 ra hforh radiop

Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:54:44 PDT