Omarion Grandberry, Giancarlo Esposito, Victor Rasuk, Zulay Henao
Considering that "Feel the Noise," the first English language film from Argentinian director Alejandro Chomski, wasn't screened for critics and is advertising itself as yet another in the already way too populated sub-genre of urban dance films, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think "Uh oh, this movie's really going to suck."
While "Feel the Noise" doesn't offer anything new, the film is a surprisingly sweet, dignified and musically captivating glimpse inside Reggaeton, a Caribbean potpourri of musical offerings that has been around for more than a decade.
Produced by Jennifer Lopez, "Feel the Noise" works mostly when Chomski lets go of the film's melodramatic storylines, most involving Rob (R&B singer Omarion Grandberry), a young Harlem-based rapper shipped off to the father he's never known in San Juan (Giancarlo Esposito) by his mother (Kellitta Smith) after a run-in with police. While Rob struggles to deal with his father's abandonment, he hits it off quite nicely with his stepbrother (Victor Rasuk), a gifted turntablist, and the beautiful C.C. (Zulay Henao).
What follows is predictable...the three will rise above their circumstances, unencumbered by the obstacles that surround them including a predatory music exec (James McCaffrey) and a jealous ex-boyfriend.
While Chomski's English language debut is far from groundbreaking, it is undeniably infectious and the soundtrack is filled with Reggaeton's biggest names such as Voltio and Tego Calderon.
The cinematography is particularly stunning in San Juan, though the film's rather overt expositions are more distracting than helpful.
Omarion, as he's known in the R&B world, is a bit too low-key at times and even more unconvincing in the film's more melodramatic moments. However, his musical scenes sizzle and his chemistry with Rasuk and Henao gives the film a remarkably authentic feeling.
"Feel the Noise" is unlikely to achieve more than a minor blip at the box-office before heading to a much longer life on home video.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic