Bill Murray has been one of the most elusive and versatile actors of all time and its rarely get to see him take a full on lead these days. More often than not he turns in memorable performances as supporting characters or in a co-star capacity and steals the show, but in his latest film Rock the Kasbah he steps back front and center with a great supporting cast including Bruce Willis, Kate Hudson, Zooey Deschanel, Scott Caan, Danny McBride, Leem Lubany and Barry Levinson at the helm, but does this film give the Murray the chance to shine or will it be best to leave it in another country
Rock the Kasbah follows a down-on-his-luck music manager who discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star. The trailers for this movie are a bit misleading as there is so much here than you might think. The story is interesting and has some inspirational moments, but sadly overall falls in more of the Hollywood clichéd stories. The story is great and standout, but the direction some aspects just felt forced and take you out of the initial greatness of it. Everything that works in this film is because of Murray. He shines doing what he does best bringing his dry brilliant performance to this character. He has some emotional moments to give his character some depth, but it’s the down on his luck somewhat unlikeable character that makes this film work way better than it might have otherwise. Bruce Willis has a smaller role than fans are used to, but he seems to be enjoying the role and ended up being one of the better parts in a while. The rest of the cast kind of come and go doing a great job, with really only Jennifer Hudson getting a lot of screen time alongside of Murray. She does a good job as well with some decent chemistry with Murray and bringing a sense of moral compose to his character, which is funny with what her character is.
For this story to really work, they had to really bring the Afghanistan aspect of the story to life and whether they actually shot there or somewhere similar they succeeded. The culture of these people play a major role in the story and had that aspect not worked the film would have fallen apart. As much as the culture, the scenery tells the story of where they are and what they are dealing with making the film feel so much bigger. This movie could have been so much better had they avoided some of the clichés and the uneven direction of them helping to save the village at the end, but thanks to Murray’s great performance and an interesting story it still manages to stand out as a good movie that you should check out.