Musicals, when done right, can be a powerful thing, and Warner Brothers 4K release of In the Heights isn’t just a musical done right, it is joy captured on film, and the images and sound practically pop off the screen in crystal clear celebration.
Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music and lyrics for this beautiful film, best off his equally brilliant Broadway show, and it captures, magnificently, the feel of one little corner of New York, The Heights, home to Puerto Ricans, Domincans, Cubans, and countless Latinx, predominantly immigrants who are in pursuit of their own American Dream in a country that seems to be increasingly turning against them.
But that doesn’t stop them celebrating who they are, where they are from, and where they are going!
Like a lot of people, I discovered Miranda through Hamilton, which I love. I was delighted to discover the Original Cast Recording of In the Heights and lost myself in the story, never having seen the production, but just letting the voices and the music tell me their stories.
Jon M. Chu, fresh off his romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, steps behind the camera to direct this adaptation, working with Miranda, and Quiara Alegria Hudes who wrote the original stage book with Miranda to bring a new, fresh version of the beloved musical to the screen.
There is energy in every frame of the film, beautiful imagery celebrating life and culture as we follow Usnavi (Anthony Ramos), who runs a small mom and pop shop on the corner. He dreams of returning to his hime country of Puerto Rico, which he hasn’t seen since he was a child. But there’s a love interest, Vanessa (Melissa Barrera) a young woman with an Americn Dream of her own, determined to make it.
Their story interweaves with others in the neighborhood. Fathers, daughters, dreamers, gossipers, all of them looking and working for something more.
It’s powerful, beautiful, and looks nothing short of absolutely jaw-dropping in this high definition transfer from Warner Brothers. The 4K comes with a blu-ray which includes the film’s extras, in this case, a collection of featurettes about the making of the film which takes us behind the scenes with the creators, the director, the location, as well as the choreographers.
This film goes all out and deserves to stand with the most vibrant screen musicals that have found their way into the hearts of movie and musical lovers everywhere. This is a film that is going to get a lot of play in my home, and I know I will have every intention of putting it on in the background and wandering around doing other things, but the music, the dance, the vibrant colours spilling off the screen will draw me in each and every time.
This one needs to be inevery cinephile’s collection, not to mention musical lovers.
In the Heights hits 4K today from Warner Brothers!