Two viewings in three days, to fully appreciate the magnificent achievement that's on screen. Not one extraneous word, scene, shot or sequence. The whole is as tight as James Brown's hits - or his pants.
The underlying construction of these snapshots of James Brown's life is flawless. Far from being haphazard or out-of-sequence for mere "effect," this non- linear storytelling technique has rarely been used with greater impact. Thankfully, Tate Tayler, Mick Jagger, the other producers and writers, decided AGAINST the boring born-in-a-shack and then this happened, and next that happened, and finally he died structure.
Result? The film has unexpected rhythms that never let go and build to the astonishing, electrifying re-creation of Brown's Paris concert that - even on second viewing - had me jumping out of my seat, fist-pumping the air and screaming, "YES!"
I wasn't alone.
Chadwick Boseman may be the black male Meryl Streep. His technical achievements alone are remarkable: Brown's moves, speech rhythms and timbre - but mainly his lip-syncing to Brown's vocals: flawless!
Even in the final moments, as the aged Brown silences his band, then begins the haunting "Try Me" a capella - in a closeup so tight you practically see Boseman's tonsils, his mouth, tongue placement, breathing and facial emotions are so perfectly and intensely aligned with Brown's voice you'd swear Boseman were doing his own signing.
But Boseman is equally true portraying Brown at any age, any stage, from any distance. You can't fake that level of acting proficiency. Whether he wins best actor, he is certain to (deservedly) be nominated.
Boseman'surrounded by an equally perfect cast, not one of whom rings false: ultimately a tribute to the director - stunningly supported by the script, cinematography and editing.
By comparison, Clint Eastwood's "Jersey Boys" looks exactly like what it is: a tired, clichéd jukebox Broadway musical with great old safe, whitebread hits (distinguished mainly by Frankie Valli's falsetto) and nothing else to write home about.
James Brown, on the other hand, was always in your face. So were (are) Mick Jagger and the Stones. And so, rightly, is "Get On Up" as a rousing cinematic experience that has to be seen to be believed.