Let me just say that I don't like Richard Gere. Really. I don't. He's like...the male Meg Ryan or something. No, actually, Tom Hanks is the male Meg Ryan. But jeez, I can't stand Richard Gere all the same.
However, as coronetist Michael 'Dixie' Dwyer in The Cotton Club.... He was pretty easy on the eyes. I'm ashamed of myself. I want to weep. What's more, the smug sonuvabitch played his own instrument, Richard Gere actually played his own solos. Damn you, Richard Gere, damn you for being so damned hot in a fedora and speaking with a hot 1928 New York accent, damn you. Oh God, I'm so ashamed.
Now that that's out of the way.
Honestly, this is a very muddled movie. Francis Ford Coppola was probably still in a wacky funk after finishing Apocalypse Now, and who wouldn't be? But The Cotton Club could've been so much better in terms of flow, because there are several plot lines going, and not enough depth is given to certain ones.
However, I give nice, big A-plusses to the music, the performances at the Club (portrayals of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway included), and the overall feel of New York in 1928 to 1932. Harlem, to be exact. But again, there could have been more soul.
Not that there wasn't any soul.There was Gregory Hines as Sandman Williams, a hoofer at the Club, and whenever he came on, he always made me smile. Diane Lane as Vera Cicero was adorable. She was beautiful. I haven't seen any of her movies before, but in this she was amazingly natural. (She reminded me of Thora Birch.) Nicolas Cage as Vincent Dwyer, Dixie's younger brother, was a scenery-chewer, but hey, I have nothing against nepotism when it's Nic.
My favorite characters, though, were club-owner Owney Madden and his right-hand-man Big Frenchy Demange, played by Bob Hoskins and Fred Gwynne, respectively. (And just to remind everyone, Madden and Demange were real-life gangsters who did work together.) Now, there's Bob, little Bob, and Fred, huge, big, former-Herman-Munster Fred. That is an odd couple if there ever was one, but boy, does it work. And while their relationship was fictionalized, I couldn't help thinking, "Omigod, theirloveissopure!" Because that's how it was! And it was so cute and heartwarming. Aww.
Overall it was fairly entertaining, but I was too distracted by how biased I am against Richard Gere for unidentifiable reasons.