This third remake of the well-told tale is fast shaping up to be the definitive version. Out are Seventies giants of music and screen Kris Kristofferson and Barbara Streisand and in are A-Listers Bradley Cooper and Stefani Joanna Angelina Germanotta.
It would be easy to say that the two stars coast along on their charm, enigmatic natures and endless charisma, but make no mistake: these two absolutely work their socks off here.
The chemistry between the pair is absolutely electrifying and they genuinely sizzle and convince as a burned-out alcoholic Country Star and wide-eyed working class starlet-in-waiting.
Bradley Cooper goes “full Jeff Bridges” as the mumbling Southern drunkard in (remarkably) his directorial debut, but not only takes centre-stage on screen too, he also co-writes, produces, sings and plays guitar too (he probably did the carering as well!?) and the live music scenes really do emerse the viewer in the maelstrom, the lights, the sweat, the mania, the fug that is a worldwide live music tour.
The story arc is as touching, raw and emotional as ever (no spoilers here!) but Cooper has modernised and revitalised the tale with some interesting new spins.
The film is foul-mouthed and funny (sometimes for all the wrong reasons) and watching the couple “Storm-Norm-Adjourn” makes for 137 minutes of mesmerising viewing.
Germanotta absolutely excels in her first “proper” acting role but the real runaway star of the film is the music itself . Each one performed by the stars is an absolute belter and countless viewers are certain to be ordering the soundtrack on their phones even as the end credits are rolling.
At 137 minutes, the film is epic-yet-intimate, pacy-yet-langourous, funny-yet-heartbreaking and for the final song alone (the barn-storming “I’ll Never Love Again”) , this staggering directorial debut makes for absolutely riveting viewing.
An exceptional fim that really stands up to repeated viewings.