Film Review – The Festival (2018)

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Festivals in Britain are infamous. Not for the music, but for the antics that befall the festival-goers. They sacrifice their hygiene, dignity and pride for the sake of having a good time. The Festival is a film encompassing this festival experience. A hysterical plot, full of unexpected and memorable experiences that will make you laugh and cringe from start to finish. If nothing else, I can promise that this film will stay long in the memory after the credits stop rolling.

Set at a classic British music festival, The Festival follows Nick (The Inbetweeners’ Joe Thomas) and Shane (Hammed Animashaun) who go to celebrate their uni graduation. Nick has just broken up with girlfriend Caitlin (Inbetweeners’ co-star Hannah Tointon), and Shane persuades him to go to forget all about it. The next few days are a rollercoaster of insanity; Nick, Shane, and their new friend Amy (Claudia O’Doherty) encounter smurfs, druids and police on their crazy weekend.

This film is the epitome of the cringey humour the British love. The style is reminiscent of The Inbetweeners – an unavoidable comparison with the film being directed by Iain Morris, creator of the  show. With Joe Thomas leading the cast, some have even dubbed The Festival as the ‘unofficial third Inbetweeners movie’. This style is the combination of hysterical laughter and scenes of physically painful cringiness. If you enjoyed The Office UK, you’ll love this – it’s full of that cringey humour we love. It’s crude and immature, and times where you have to look away because you can’t believe what you’re seeing.

Well-imagined, well-written and well, hilarious, the cast is what really brings this film to life. Thomas excels as grumpy Nick, with Animashaun perfectly playing his optimistic best friend. All of the cast are great and bounce off each other – they have conflicting personalities and relationships which are authentic and relatable. Cameos from Nick Frost, rapper Big Narstie and Noel Fielding are welcome treats too.

The Festival has a lot of memorable scenes –  a strip tease in front of some smurfs, a druid wedding ceremony, a police chase. In between these though, are less interesting exchanges which interlude all the fun. Nick moping around feeling sorry for himself and scenes of the characters just walking around, for example. It feels like a waste to have scenes like this when there’s so much excitement going on around them. There are times when you’re sat watching this film thinking ‘did we need to see this? Could they not have extended the more entertaining scenes? Sacrifice a bit of character development for more fun and games?’ Especially as this is a film where the setting gives them all the entertainment they could possibly want.

That said, and those points aside, The Festival is a very funny, memorable film – one for fans of the cringey humour; fans of The Inbetweeners will definitely get on board with it. A strong cast and with laughs from start to finish, it’s all you can want from an easy-to-watch comedy. It won’t be to everyone’s taste and has very mixed reviews; but this is a film that is beautifully British, with all the cringey humour you could dream of, and scenes you’ll never forget. Definitely worth a watch.

Luke Adcock | ★★★

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