Karen Elise Baldwin
James L. White
Taylor Hackford's biopic on
the highly eventful life of the legendary Ray Charles is by no means
neither the most pinpointed nor the most ground-breaking biography in
recent years. It is at times somewhat ill-focused, burying itself in
financial issues and becoming what borders on obsessed with Charles'
drug addiction. These, and a few segments in which Hackford opts for
cheap solutions (don't you think it's time someone redefined that
'getting out of your drug addiction'-montage?) contribute to making Ray
an unnecessary winding experience.
Still, the weight of the
material, the fantastic music, the film's meticulous attention to detail
and, last but not least, Jamie Foxx' magnificent performance in the lead
adds up to enough to acknowledge this as a remarkable film. There's no
denying that this reviewer is a sucker for biopics (another fine one
this year was The
Aviator on Howard Hughes), but there's also no denying
that Taylor Hackford has put almost half a lifetime of work into this,
and that passion shines through. Although Hackford's talent has come to
its right more clearly in the past (notably with Dolores
Claiborne), Ray will forever stand as one of his
finest and most important films.