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ABBA: The Movie

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Critics' Reviews

AMG Review
Donald Guarisco
This surprisingly inspired concert documentary is much more than the throwaway quickie one might expect. In fact, ABBA: The Movie functions both as a fun concert movie and a nifty time capsule thanks to some inspired filmmaking. The film's wraparound device of a reporter stalking ABBA might seem fairly stale in concept, but it works here because the script underplays this element, choosing to focus on the real-life hassles the character would deal instead of placing him in a series of contrived slapstick moments (the moments with him recording and editing down his on-the-street interviews are particularly interesting). It's also worth noting that Robert Hughes delivers a surprisingly wry performance as the Disc Jockey that manages to deliver plenty of humor without lapsing into mugging or overtly broad gesticulation. However, the heart of any concert film must lie in its musical numbers, and ABBA: The Movie delivers this element in spades: director Lasse Hallström and cinematographer Paul Onorato capture each song with a variety of angles and flashy moves that Hallström has deftly edited into fast-moving bursts of music and image that anticipate the programming that would soon fill MTV. They also periodically intercut these performances with other moments to ironic effect, the best example being all the shots of ABBA merchandise and vendors that are cut into the performance of "Money, Money, Money." In front of the camera, ABBA deliver their songs with big, bright smiles and plenty of gusto as a string of relentlessly screaming audiences whoop it up. ABBA fans should be especially happy with the film's musical content because it includes both familiar hits like "Dancing Queen" and lesser-known fan favorites like "Eagle." In short, ABBA: The Movie is a slick, fast-paced treat for the group's fans and a fine way for novices to experience this internationally popular group at the height of their fame. ~ Donald Guarisco, Rovi
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