Taking Woodstock (2009)

Posted: May 15, 2010 in Joe Giambrone

Blu-ray: Taking Woodstock
DVD: Taking Woodstock

This is a worthwhile take on the 1969 Woodstock concert. Ang Lee directs the inside story of the unknowing young man who inadvertently unleashed the largest concert in world history on a small farming town in upstate NY.

The film is notable for its lead character, a gay, Jewish, artist kid who seized on the concert idea as a last ditch effort to save his parents’ motel from foreclosure.

The trailer made the film seem like a zany comedy, but the story is actually more drama than comedy. Comedian Demetri Martin turns in a believable performance in his first big screen appearance.

A cast of misfits are never far away, as the staging is vast and populated with thousands of extras. The locations swarm with hippies, cars, animals and a 60’s energy that Lee has masterfully recreated.

The plot loses somefocus as the concert, and all the frenetic activity ramps up. But it quickly comes back again and again to pick up the family drama of the main character. The what comes next, after the Hippies leave question hangs over the story. A life path must be chosen.

This inside look at the largest concert ever staged is fascinating and placed in context. All the issues of the time appear as a texture and a flavor to provide authenticity. Credit to the director.

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