Idlewild (15)

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The Independent Culture

Idlewild is a curious musical vehicle for André Benjamin (right) and Antwan A Patton, better known as OutKast. It's nearly all set in a Georgia nightclub in 1935, although its leading men are separate for most of the film, much as they were on their last album.

Patton plays the nightclub's manager, whose easy life becomes more difficult after his boss is gunned down and Terrence Howard's gangster muscles in. Benjamin plays against type as a shy pianist-by-night, mortician-by-day, who only emerges from his shell when a beautiful singer (Paula Patton) slinks onto the premises.

The film is written and directed is by Bryan Barber, who makes award-winning videos for OutKast. But a consistent full-length film appears to be beyond him. At times, playing to his strengths, he sees Idlewild as a snazzy, Bugsy Malone-type hip-hop fantasy, with animated hallucinations, big production numbers, and Patton rapping a few decades ahead of schedule. But at other times it's a blood-spattered drama, all muted colours and lonely introspection. It all makes for a weird mix, and a very downkast OutKast.