I first heard about the film Spinning Gold over a decade ago. The passion project, a biopic about Neil Bogart and Casablanca records was spinning a tale about the man behind huge 70s musicians. Now, in 2023 that film is finally here. However, it’s…not great.
SPINNING GOLD FALLS FLAT
Spinning Gold tells the fantastical life of Neil Bogart, the man behind Casablanca Records. Weirdly, the world doesn’t know his name quite like many music men. However, his family is out to change that with this film.
I wasn’t familiar with Neil Bogart at all. The one thing I appreciate about this film is learning about him. I also appreciate that they didn’t skip over the dark sides of their father, or the business.
When speaking with writer/director Timothy Bogart, he wanted to tell this fantastical, incredible story in an artistic manner. However, it never really lands on what that means. Is it a musical? Drama? Comedy? Dramedy? Stage Play? Or all of the above. Not making a clear choice makes the film chaotic and muddy.
WHAT AM I WATCHING?
While Spinning Gold is filled with talented actors the direction given was not it. Jeremy Jordan (The Last 5 Years) takes on the titular role of Neil Bogart and portrays him to the fullest. Filling out the Casablanca family are Jay Pharoah (SNL), and Dan Fogler (Fantastic Beasts). All three characters are constantly playing to the back of the theater.
The groundedness of great actors like Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter Series), and Lyndsy Fonesca (Turner and Hooch) feel out of place. For me, the over-the-top theater acting is jarring for a film. In a way, Spinning Gold seems more like a Fringe Festival Play on tape vs a blockbuster film.
So, while I appreciate the message and story I wish it was done completely differently.
Spinning Gold hits theaters on March 31, 2023. Do with this information what you will.