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  • Gareth Crook

Purple Rain (1984)

I miss Prince. Always loved Prince. That wasn’t particularly cool in the 90s, but he released some great albums in the 90s. It’s the 80s stuff people remember most fondly though isn’t it and Purple Rain really is a remarkable record. This film isn’t remarkable, but if it’s nothing more than an excuse to listen to some stunning funk pop classics, I’m alright with that. Yes it’s way over the top, but come on it’s fucking Prince! Let’s Go Crazy starts things off with an extended jam leading us through a montage of the players. This isn’t a mere concert film, there is a narrative. Although you could argue it could do without one. The acting is questionable, but then most of the main roles are taken by musicians. That said you’ve gotta admit Morris Day sure had presence and boy could he move. He fronts The Time, a rival band to the purple one’s The Revolution. Of course Prince created The Time, but then Prince was responsible for most things in his world and this film was no different. Prince plays The Kid, but he’s really playing himself. Packing out clubs, but not playing by the rules, playing what he wants, pissing people off. Morris wants him out of the club and plans to oust him with a girl group. Morris is a prick truth be told, I know it was the 80s but the misogyny grates. The story weaves through pop video sequences visualising the songs. Some from the stage, some from that custom purple motorbike. Filmed mostly in Prince’s hometown of Minneapolis it’s surprisingly unshowy and... well a bit cheap looking. Well apart from Prince, who does stick out like a sore thumb. It’s also exceptionally cheesy and if you took the tunes out it’d be shit, even with them it’s fair to say it’s merely a cult curiosity. One for the fans. My biggest issue is the treatment of women, not just from Morris, pretty much everyone is a leering letch. It makes it difficult to enjoy anything but the music. The Kid paints himself as the tortured genius. A musical maverick with a troubled home life. Struggling to make his love life work with Apollonia (Apollonia Kotero) while his abusive father curses him to repeat the same mistakes. At worst it’s egotistical nonsense at best it’s a long form pop video, but there is something fun about it, something that makes it watchable... although not the cringey sex scenes, no one wants to see Prince doing that. The plot is thin, questionable and crap. If I was reviewing the album it’d be 10 no question. Even with it as it’s backbone though, I can’t give this anything higher than 5 and even that feels a bit generous.



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