Movies have been around since the late 1800s and music has been around even longer, so to have someone want to create something to be classified in either medium that is original or even inspired is a difficult task. I am certainly not going to fault someone, especially if its not a science fiction film (as there is much more creativeness to work with there), for not coming up with something wholeheartedly new, however it has to be something at least vaguely interesting and remotely engaging. Tim Sutton, who writes and directs Taurus, managed to somehow forget the unwritten rule of film making, which I’ve always believed was “tell a story that needs to be told that people want to hear.” A faux behind the scenes documentary-esque Behind the Music rip-off is certainly not what the people wanted, especially about a fictionalized (or at least partially fictionalized) telling of Machine Gun Kelly.
The movie focuses on Cole (Colson Baker a.k.a. Machine Gun Kelly) as he’s going through mundane day-to-day life trying to become the next big musical star. There is no denying that he has talent, it’s just a matter of him breaking through the proverbial wall and making it to that stardom level he desires to be at. However, he is a typical rockstar and is already kicking off his dangerous habits of drugs and alcohol and having outbursts at the wrong people and not focusing on the things in life he should be. He is just hyper-focused, and drugged out of his mind, on becoming the next big thing, and he’s throwing away what he possibly can achieve. It’s clearly a self portrait of someone who’s losing their grip on everything while in the stranglehold of an industry they want to throw their life so recklessly into.
There is typically a reason why not every musician makes the transition from one medium to another, or even any profession in the arts, why most people tend to stay in the art form they are most comfortable with. How many actors become singers and how many singers become actors, sure there are the exceptions to the rule, but that also doesn’t translate to the fact that they’re inherently good at the other medium either. Colson Baker has acted a few times, but this is his first outing in a leading role and it is not a flattering performance. There is some personal experience that seems to be sprinkled within his performance and his acting, but it lacks depth and charisma and is void of any real emotion. It is clear that he is just present, yet not really present, but there needed to be something more grounded to his performance for it to stand out and accomplish what Tim Sutton was most likely hoping for. However, on the complete other end of the spectrum here is Maddie Hasson, who plays Ilana, Cole’s assistant who absolutely excels. She takes everything that is thrown at her, grounds it, and delivers a great performance for the lack of substance and material she is given. Her performance highlights the levels of abuse and mental anguish one must endure as well as the tough skin one must possess to work in such a cut-throat industry and grounds it into the performance she delivers. Whenever she is trying to clean up after Cole’s mess, or when she’s just helping him cope with whatever curve balls are thrown his way, Ilana helps the movie resurrects itself with a faint heart beat that reinvigorates the slightest flame to the dull burnt out candle. Maddie Hasson is certainly the saving grace and last piece of kindle wood that saves Tim Sutton’s Taurus from being an otherwise uninspiring faux take on Behind the Music.
In theaters, on VOD, and digital November 18th, 2022.
Final Score: 2 out of 5.