by Rebecca Ford- Los Angeles Film Examiner
The blues are back.
The songs will sound familiar to many—Etta James’ “At Last,” Chuck Berry’s, “Maybellene,” and Muddy Waters’ “I’m a Man.” The faces are new.
Instead of making a film about any one of these pioneers of music, “Cadillac Records” is about the place they all crashed into each other—Chess Records.
In the 1950s and 1960s, Chess records, run by Polish emigre Leonard Chess (Adrien Brody), became to epicenter of the future of music. The foundation for the blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll was laid—brick by brick—in those studios. “Cadillac Records” chronicles the rise of Chess records and the tumultuous lives of the musicians who called it home.
Like the Cadillacs the musicians and Chess pine after, the film is beautiful and shiny on the outside. The songs are memorable and the singers croon with the best of them. But cramming the entire history of the forefathers of modern music into 109 minutes makes the film seem rushed, and lacking in the rich details that probably filled those days….