1984 / Director. Albert Magnoli.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
I love PURPLE RAIN. It's so bad and yet it's sooo good. It's a film of vanity, ego and a hugely misguided messiah complex. It is, of course, a pop/rock musical vehicle for PRINCE and it is supposedly semi-biographical. It tells the story of "The Kid", the flamboyant frontman for a popular club band, The Revolution. For years he's held the stage at a Minneapolis nightclub and has been revered as a sort of pop demigod... but his popularity begins to wane and the club's owner wants to replace his act. With his band starting to turn against him and his homelife an ugly scene of domestic violence (he lives with his parents) The Kid gets distracted by a new girl, whom he treats like shit. There's a lot of serious themes running throughout PURPLE RAIN and I guess we're supposed to be looking into Prince's soul or something like that... haha. yeah he's really deep. From the opening scenes through to the final frame Prince prances around the stage in his frilled velvet suit and tears up the town on his big purple motorcycle. The whole thing is a big fat "hey look at me" and it's hilarious. Prince clearly loves himself and wants us to know how sensitive he is. With his trademark perm, high heel shoes and ability to shed single tears, he wants us to see into his soul. Unfortunately for him, what we see isn't exactly nobel. He ridicules his new girlfriend, treats her like a sex toy and smacks her around. Of course he does it within the context of an unstable home life (like father, like son) which is supposed to make it alright. The problem is, and perhaps it is an example of the era, that he doesn't seek redemption for his misogynistic and violent behavior. The fact alone that he can write heartfelt music and gyrate on stage seems to be enough. It is so damn easy to ridicule Prince. Just look at him. He truly believes himself to be God's gift to women and yet when things get steamy and women get naked, the guy couldn't kiss his way out of a lip factory. Seriously, he really can't kiss. Its cringeworthy. He looks like a permed pufferfish with botox and rather than locking lips he prefers to press his face against a woman and let her do all of the work. Ahhh so much joy to be had with this film. His girlfriend even performs as a Frank-N-Furter impersonator!! LOL Despite all of its hokiness and unintentional hilarity, it's ultimately the music that holds it together. The guy sure can write some great songs and he's a natural born performer. PURPLE RAIN is a cult classic and it's so much fun to watch over and over... but one question remains; what the fuck IS purple rain? Are they his metaphorical tears? Is it his control over women? I dunno but it's a cool song that provides the film with it's best moment. Prince would later direct a sequel called GRAFFITI BRIDGE in 1990 and although I have seen it, I don't remember much about it. I'll be revisiting it very soon so stay tuned for that one... oh and one final question... What DOES it sound like when doves cry? He never really tell us. LOL