FILM THREAT: “When making a faux documentary about musicians and/or the music industry, it takes quite a bit of originality not to be overshadowed by THIS IS SPINAL TAP. While scores of filmmakers have tried, only a few have succeeded, such as Woody Allen’s charming and underrated SWEET AND LOWDOWN or the hilarious SONS OF PROVO, which also used religion as its backdrop. So, when I state that writer/director/star Justin Connor’s new movie THE GOLDEN AGE compares handsomely to those titles, please note the revered talent he joins.
Each and every song written and performed for the film was catchy and playful, yet profound; striking a delicate balance of distinctive, but radio-friendly. They eloquently tie the themes, ideas, character progression, and styles of music together perfectly— the songs are amazing.
The movie’s secret weapon is Connor…He portrays Maya as a man of intense passion and beliefs, but never makes him pretentious or stuck up. As a director, he finds an emotional honesty that runs through the movie and he keeps things moving along nicely. Justin Connor is a force to be reckoned with who has a fulfilling career ahead of him.”
UK FILM REVIEW: “Heavier and loaded with more pathos than your average rockumentary, filmmaker Justin Connor’s musical The Golden Age is as meditative as it is tragic. Far from the outlandish antics of This Is Spinal Tap or the mile-a-minute crudeness of Get Him to the Greek, Connor takes us on a journey through one man’s existential crisis.
Connor plays the lead role of Maya O’Malley, a singer-songwriter whose rise to fame is quickly followed by pariah status after making controversial comments about religion. We see the toll that popularity, success, and failure have on Maya as he attempts numerous ways to find inner peace, including, somewhat ironically, religion.
There is a contemplative atmosphere which settles on The Golden Age fairly quickly and refuses to ease until the final credits roll. Once audiences realise this piece is more sombre than silly, and that the jokes are not going to be rolling in, they can instead prepare themselves to be immersed by Connor’s narrative of personal tragedy and intimate drama. By exploring themes of loss and father issues using both dialogue and performances, Maya’s story gets relayed as an ethereal tapestry of his soul rather than just talking head interviews (which are also present).
The #filmmaking is used to further enhance this multilayered approach to the #biopic structure. Connor is playful with his use of multiple screens, many of which simply contain Maya making a single noise that contributes to a larger musical piece that is building in the background. This is expertly done throughout the film and provides viewers with numerous musical numbers to be enraptured by. It was a shame the plot felt a little underwhelming in the final third but this was a tale of self discovery and self healing rather than any rags to riches loop.
Quite literally a one-man-band, Justin Connor proves himself to be capable of playing pretty much every instrument (literally and figuratively). And it is wonderful to say that this extraordinary amount of involvement with the film, filling so many roles, does not detract from the overall enjoyment factor. The Golden Age doesn’t go to extreme lengths to discuss the central character’s vulnerability or tragedy. There are no exploitative rehab scenes or excessive hijinks from Maya. We are swept away on a fairly safe and predictable melody but with few bum notes and an infusion of captivating highlights.”