A deaf, dumb, and blind boy finds solace in playing pinball,
becomes the greatest in the world, and becomes the object of a cult.
Written and Directed by Ken Russell
Starring Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed,
Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Elton John,
Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson, Eric Clapton, Robert Powell,
Paul Nicholas, Barry Winch
Based on the rock opera by Pete Townshend
Oscar Nominations - Best Actress (Ann-Margret),
Best Original Score (Pete Townshend)
Tommy is a trippy rock opera that really hasn't aged that well. Sure it sports a killer cast and an iconic soundtrack, but it doesn't make a lick of sense. Chalk it up to the era it was made, I suppose. Tommy is remembered more for the songs that came out of it than for the musical itself these days. Honestly, it's quite entertaining until the bizarre third act where Tommy becomes a cult leader. That's where weird gets weirder. Up to that point, the film is almost mesmerizing in its use of visuals paired with psychedelic music.
Roger Daltrey plays Tommy, a young man who is stricken blind, deaf, and dumb when he witnesses his mom and his stepdad kill his real dad. The other members of The Who make cameos throughout, with Keith Moon standing out as the creepy, molesting Uncle Ernie in one of the many bizarre sequences throughout. Ann-Margret shines as Tommy's mother, while Oliver Reed slimes it up as his repellent stepdad. The cast is great, but its the host of cameos that constantly make you smile. You've got Elton John as the Pinball Wizard, doing his own rendition of the classic Who song, and Tina Turner as the Acid Queen, a freaky prostitute in stepdad's employ, just to name a few.
Like I said, the movie is already pretty weird but I can get behind it, until the whole cult thing. For me, the movie ended when Tommy broke out of his funk. Everything that happened after that is just unnecessary and frankly, it ruins the movie. If you can suffer through the confusing and annoying last bit, Tommy is a solid musical that shows off the many talents of one of the greatest rock bands of all time.