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  • Writer's pictureEllis Barthorpe

tick, tick...BOOM! ★★★★

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Starring Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Vanessa Hudgens, Joshua Henry

As the onomatopoeic title suggests, time is such an important factor in Lin-Manuel Miranda's directorial debut tick, tick...BOOM! Not only do we count down to composer Jonathan Larson's (Andrew Garfield) 30th birthday, but also to his untimely death, which as an audience we are informed of at the start of the proceedings.

Time is also a crucial cog in the way that the story unfolds. We see the actions told in the story of tick, tick...BOOM! in a real world setting, with big musical numbers feeling fresh and routine. Andrew Garfield plays the lead and his difference in energy between the different moments in his life is just electrifying. His vocals are exquisite throughout and you genuinely feel Larson's passion for theatre and music rushing through him. The supporting cast around him are great too but this is unequivocally Larson's story and Garfield carries it with ease.

The plot has some predictable beats that you'd expect a musical film to hit, but its high notes come through the juxtaposition of music to drama. The 'Therapy' sequence is brilliantly crafted and although what happens on stage is great, the direction is assertive and all the more understandable. This is a musical adaptation that deserves its film version, and that comes for the most part from Miranda's vision and Garfield's intricate performance.

Although the plot is somewhat predictable, it's a story of someones life; a life that is truly inspiring and performed in the most gracious, energetic way. Certain musical numbers may be there to fit the formula more than to move the narrative forward, but at no point do you feel that the clock is just tick tick ticking you gently along.

tick, tick...BOOM! available now on Netflix

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