SXSW Movie Review: Rainbow Around the Sun

Rainbow Around the Sund

A rock opera/musical that’s part Tommy and part Cabaret, Rainbow Around the Sun is a perfect example of what a talented group of artists and musicians can do when they have a modest budget and modern technology (e.g., HD cameras, Final Cut Pro) to work from. Filmed in and around Oklahoma City, Oklahoma by directors Kevin Ely and Beau Leland (who also edited) and based on a concept album (remember those?) by singer/songwriter Matthew Alvin Brown, Rainbow Around the Sun is, at times, startlingly original in its ability to take the best of two mediums, music and film, and combine them into a powerful, moving, moviegoing experience, one that deserves the wide play and not just in film festivals.

It helps, of course, to have a talented singer/songwriter/actor in Matthew Alvin Brown. Brown plays a character loosely based on his own experiences as a struggling musician. Brown’s character, Zachary Blasto, buses tables by day and practices or performs at night with his band. When he isn’t drinking himself into a stupor over his ill-advised breakup with his girlfriend, Debbie (Jamie Buxton), he’s passing out and finding solace in dreamscapes that inevitably tie back to his ambitions to become a successful musician. In one recurring dream, he’s a self-absorbed, but still hard drinking, rock star.

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