Review: The Blues Brothers (1980)

The Blues Brothers (1980)

Directed by: John Landis | 133 minutes | action, comedy, music | Actors: Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn, Murphy Dunne, Willie Hall, Tom Malone, Lou Marini, Matt Murphy, Alan Rubin, Carrie Fisher, Frank Oz, John Candy, Henry Gibson, Kathleen Freeman

The movie ‘The Blues Brothers’ opens with a fantastic scene in which Elwood Blues (Dan Aykroyd) collects his brother Jake (John Belushi) from Joliet prison. We see Jake standing at the doors as if he were an angel, standing at the gates of heaven and being sent back to earth to accomplish one more task. Elwood gets out of the used police car he bought and walks over to his brother. Jake’s facial expression says more than enough, displeasure and discontent. This is also the great strength and trademark of John Belushi. He is a man of few words, but with enormous charisma and facial expression.

‘The Blues Brothers’ is characterized by the limited dialogues between the main characters. Nevertheless, the chemistry between Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi explodes from the screen. The facial expressions and body postures say it all. The way Jake and Elwood walk, stand and dance is world famous. This also applies to their clothing; all in black with hat and sunglasses. For Jake and Elwood, it’s all about soul and blues. For example, a number of scenes are presented as a musical, in which purebred musicians play the leading role. This further enhances the blues and soul feeling. Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown are some well-known musicians who make their contributions to the film. Where musicians start acting, things tend to go wrong. When all they have to do is make music, they do exactly what they are good at.

The other supporting actors do exactly what they are supposed to do. Nothing more and nothing less, enhancing the power of The Blues Brothers. After all, everything revolves around Jake and Elwood. The rest is of secondary importance. John Candy as the probation officer and Carrie Fisher as the mad maniac play the most important and also the nicest supporting roles.

There is also plenty of action in the film. Chase scenes with fifty police cars are of course over the top and unbelievable, but in this film it remains fun. And that is exactly the intention. Not a groundbreaking action, but precisely dosed so that everything is right. So is the script. Not a special story, but the story is good enough to build in the jokes and pranks of the brothers.

We won’t reveal whether The Blues Brothers will find redemption, but the real film lover should have seen this film at least once. If you look at it a second time, you’ve seen the light.

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