You Instead is for all intensive purposes a Romcom set at a British festival. The film’s hook is that after an argument in the first 5 minutes of the film,
Adam played by Luke Treadaway (last seen playing the posh kid in Attack The Block) is the cocky singer of a hit electro duo from the states called The Make; is handcuffed to Natalie Tena (last seen as Remus Lupin’s wife in Harry Potter) who plays Morello a singer of a up and coming riot grrrl band The Dirty Pinks. The rest of the cast is made up of the other band members, entourage and a few real musicians, including an amusing cameo by Newton Faulkner.
The film directed by David Mackenzie, is in the same vain as Richard Linklater’s Before Sunset/Sunrise in terms of the two strangers of the opposite sex meeting and being thrust into each others life for a day. This theme has been used in several American micro-budget indie films such as Quiet City and Search for a Midnight Kiss. Though this is the first I have seen in British filmmaking, though there have probably been a few.
The handcuffs though while providing a few jokes and a bit of conflict are essentially just a plot device to keep the ‘odd couple’ together though it works well. The editing and sound design also help in giving the claustrophobia one can feel trapped in a huge crowd at a festival.
The leads do some good work, Treadaway pulls off a decent American accent and Tena whilst perhaps over the top in some scenes, gives her character life and a heart beneath all the make up and loud clothing. Some of the film was improvised to help give it some naturalism and for the most parts this is a success.
The filmmakers must be given serious props for both being able to capture the experience of being at a British festival and for actually being able to make a film whilst being surrounding by thousands of drunken festivalgoers at T in the Park.
The films soundtrack is great, it’s a mixtape of live performances by real bands and a couple songs by the fake bands the leads play in, as well as some well picked indie gems. pretty much all of the music was diegetic (a fancy film term meaning that we were hearing the same music as the characters in the film would have been hearing) which really added to creating the festival atmosphere.
I enjoyed the film, as I enjoyed the slow meandering ramblings of Before Sunrise and Quiet City. though this is film is definitely not for everyones, there is little plot to keep things moving along and the day at the festival slowly transpires over the 80 minute running time.
my main critique would be that it could have done with a few more jokes, as there were only a few laugh out loud moments all of which coming from The Make’s band manager played by Gavin Mitchell from Scottish comedy show Still Game.
MOVIE RATING: 3.5/5
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