Who Do You Love? (International Film Circuit) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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David Oyelowo as Muddy Waters, Alessandro Nivola as Leonard Chess and Jon Abrahams as Phil Chess.

Who Do You Love?

Studio: International Film Circuit
Directed by Jerry Zaks; Starring: Alessandro Nivola, Jon Abrahams, Robert Randolph, Keb’ Mo’, David Oyelowo, Chi McBride, Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke, and Marika Dominczyk

Apr 15, 2010 Web Exclusive
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The story of Chess Records founder Leonard Chess, who would help launch the careers of Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and Etta James, falls flat, without igniting the fire that helped make recent music pics like Once and Walk the Line successful. The major issue is the utterly charmless Alessandro Nivola in the role of Leonard. Nivola fails to convince as the hardscrabble, up-from-his-bootstraps, literally out of the junkyard kind of guy Chess was.

All too often, director Jerry Zaks tries to get too cute with the story, as each character seems to be introduced with a knowing wink and a heavy hand. Instead, we rarely understand why Chess feels any kind of connection with the blues he helped shape, at least in a commercial sense. In one scene, Chess thumps along to the beat of a Waters tune while he drives through the countryside. It’s one of the only times Nivola shows a crack in the too-serious veneer he plasters on his character’s face. Unfortunately, this dour attitude dominates the film, and Zaks and company never penetrate the core of what Chess meant to the music, or what the music meant to him. (www.internationalfilmcircuit.com)

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 3/10


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April 15th 2010

I’m a little confused. Why bother making this film when it was already made very recently as Cadillac Records.  It’s also a little confusing how you could write a review without mentioning that fact.

April 15th 2010

I don’t understand why this flick even exists when Cadillac Records was good and barely got any love.

April 15th 2010

Oh, sorry I should have checked the person who commented previously but mos def agree.

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