Ken Russell applies his rococo outpourings to Pete Townshend's rock opera and botches not only the visuals but the fine score.
What are people saying?
What are critics saying?
Tommy is turning out to be the kind of movie most people probably like more than they care to admit. Modest charm and unpretentiousness are hardly the qualities that I ever thought I would associate with Ken Russell, but there you are, and there Tommy is. [31 Mar 1975, p.68]
This 1975 film's inventiveness begins to flag about halfway through, but by then it's a relief.
For all that Tommy bungles or overdoes, it’s still a powerful experience, musically and visually.
Russell doesn't give a damn about the material he started with, greatest art work of the century or not, and he just goes ahead and gives us one glorious excess after another. He is aided by his performers, especially Ann-Margret, who is simply great as Tommy's mother.
Mr. Russell's Tommy virtually explodes with excitement on the screen. A lot of it is not quite the profound social commentary it pretends to be, but that's beside the point of the fun.