Movie Online: Watch Downtown Express (2012) | Watch Downtown Express Free Stream
Set in the world of Russian immigrants living in New York City, Downtown Express uses music to explore the clash of old world values against the lure and excitement of a new country. Under the watch of his loving but overbearing father, virtuoso violinist and Juilliard student Sasha (Grammy nominee 'Philippe Quint') prepares for a critical recital meant to launch his career. Yet, he is increasingly drawn to the rhythms of the streets of New York, and when he meets singer-songwriter Ramona (acclaimed recording artist 'Nellie McKay'), he joins her band, falls in love, and begins to lead a double life, careening frantically between two worlds. As his classical debut nears, Sasha must decide whether to break with his father and forge his own destiny.
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DOWNTOWN EXPRESS has a very simple story. It is almost more just a situation depicted on film. Once the narrative gets going it gets
its trajectory in the first act. It continues on that track in the middle act and completes its flight in the last act landing just
where it was aimed at the beginning. The point of the film is not to create much in the way of dramatic tension. It is to show us
some moderately well drawn characters and to accompany these images with excellent music, some classical, some popular rock, and
eventually some that is a melding of both musical forms.
Sasha Resnick (played by Philippe Quint) is a Russian Jewish immigrant with a huge talent for the violin. His father, Vadim
Resnick (Michael Cumpsty), is doing everything within his power to channel Sasha into a career as a super-star classical musician.
Sasha cooperates albeit resenting his lack of personal freedom. Attending the Juilliard School in Manhattan, he is preparing for a
recital that should announce his prodigious talent to the world. Professionally he plays only great (Slavic) classical music. He
plays it at home, at school, in the subways where he makes a small living playing music with his father and with his cousin as street
musicians, in old age homes, and in restaurants.
But Sasha has broader interest in harmony than his father has. He likes to walk the streets of Manhattan to listen to the many kinds
of music that can be heard on the streets of the city. He knows there is more to music than just the concert-hall-quality classical
variety. Sasha hears the sound of a small rock band, Downtown Express, and its lead singer Ramona (Nellie McKay). He becomes
obsessed with both. Leading a double life, he prepares for his recital but follows the band and Ramona. At first both reject his
persistence. But Sasha remains determined.
The story leaves many loose ends that are never tied up about whether Sasha will be able to stay in the United States and what
will his future be in general. What matters to director Dave Grubin and scriptwriter Kathleen Cahill, is whether he can make the
transition from classical to rock.
Philippe Quint and Nellie McKay, playing performers trying to establish themselves as respectively a great classical violinist
and a great popular singer, are in fact already well-established in those fields. As a violinist Quint has been nominated four times
for a Grammy Award and has played to admiring audiences. Nellie McKay is a popular performer having released five critically
acclaimed albums and done two shows. When DOWNTOWN EXPRESS opens in New York City at The Quad on April 20, 2012, Quint will have
just released a new album of his performances and McCay will have just completed a show "Silent Spring--It's Not Nice to Fool Mother
Nature." It adds to the believability that they both can perform on camera in fields in which they are already recognized virtuosos.