Here it is, my most likable song ever! – Coca Cola, lipstick ringo, dance all night, dance all night, I’ve got dancing legs….whoo….I’ve got dancing legs. They won’t stop a dancing, no, they won’t stop a dancing. Kiss me, kiss me, lipstick kiss me, lipstick ringo, that’s that way you like it
I like to give every film I ever see a fair chance to impress me. Regardless of the film or it’s content, once I have started watching I will stick with it to the end. Infact, during my 30 years on this planet only one film (Johnny Knoxville’s The Ringer) has gotten me so angry that I had to turn off. This almost became number two.
The film is 90 minutes long and I spent 89 of those minutes wanting it to end. It never ceases to amaze me that the films you look forward to the most are the ones that are the most disappointing, but this takes it to a whole new level of disappointment as it is just pure, unadulterated nonsense all the way through.
Although it’s not a phrase I will use often in the future of this website, and it’s not one that I have used often in the past, but I would actually go as far as saying that I hate this movie.
Jon (Gleeson) is obsessed with music and hopes to one day become a famous singer/song writer, by pure fluke he ends up witnessing a man going out to see to commit suicide. It turns out that he is a member of a band, a band who don’t try to save him, and when Jon mentions he plays music, he is asked to join the band.
The band, named “Soronprfbs” are lead by the mysterious Frank (Fassbender), an eccentric who wears a huge papier-mâché head all of the time (even when taking a shower), as well as the moody Clara (Gyllenhaal), manager Don (McNairy), bass player Baraque (Civil) and drummer Nana (Azar). They retreat to the countryside to record their debut album but that takes considerably longer than any of them expected.
To keep his sanity, Jon documents that band’s recording and places the clips on Youtube, gaining the band an unusually large following and opening up doors that Jon could only dream of, but not necessarily the rest of the band.
So, that doesn’t sound so bad.
In theory it’s an interesting concept, but the execution is just absolutely terrible.
I’m going to start this with the positives about the film, the main one of which is easily Fassbender. Fassbender has been in some excellent films in recent years, including the incredible “Shame” (which if it isn’t well known I will review in the future), and even though he is wearing a papier-mâché head for most of the film, he is easily the most enjoyable actor to watch in this role. Despite the fact you can’t see his face, Fassbender does an excellent job of making you know exactly how he feels about a situation through body language and you can tell that he actually enjoyed making this film.
That’s where the positivity ends and that leads me neatly onto the character of Jon.
Jon is quite possibly the most one dimensional and selfish characters that I have ever seen in cinema. There is precisely no depth to him as a character, he is just obsessed by music and that is literally all he talks about during the entire film. In the first scene he is writing a song in his head about a woman in a red coat and her handbag (which is just terrible by the way), in the next he’s listening to music, then he’s in the band. There is no background story, no development of him as a character other than the fact he loves music and in all honesty, he’s a bit of a dick.
In the beginning when he is offered the chance to join the band but sees the current band member might actually recover in time from being put in the ambulance to the time the concert is supposed to start, he asks if he will survive because he doesn’t want to have his chance ruined. Yeah, it’s not like it’s another human being and you want to do the right thing and make sure he’s ok, the character couldn’t care less if the guy dies if it means he can take part in the concert. This isn’t the only example of this throughout the film as much later in the film Frank collapses on stage, Jon initially just stands there and watches, then goes to check on him but still continues to play the song without actually trying to help.
Never in the history of cinema have I ever seen such a one dimensional main character. This isn’t anything against Gleeson, who isn’t that bad, but the character is just awful and I would go as far as calling it one of the worst main characters in the history of cinema. A pure example of his pure selfishness can also be viewed as the very simple approach of having at least four characters in two different countries say hello to him whilst walking down the street and he just stares at the blankly. Am I supposed to not like this guy, because if not you’ve done a fantastic job. That’s how incredibly awful that character was written.
Jon isn’t on his own in the awful character stakes though and other than Frank, none of the characters are likable. Gyllenhaal is her typical bland self as Clara and I know it’s probably part of the character description, but her miserable approach to acting means that this characters shows no emotion at all, even when happy. I would put her up there with actresses such as Kristen Stewart and Emily Watson in the “they’re actresses that can’t act” category. I can’t think of one movie where I actually liked her and even in the incredible “The Dark Knight” she plays the character with such poor skill that I really don’t care that she dies half way through…..speaking of which…..
Scoot McNairy’s Don is another under-developed character and then he just dies half way the movie through by committing suicide. I’m sorry, is this supposed to have some sort of emotional impact? You’ve just killed off a character that you haven’t spent time developing, we know pretty much nothing about him and yet we’re supposed to feel sad? Nope, not buying it.
Then we get onto Baraque, played by François Civil. Now, I actually like Civil as an actor. He was enjoyable to watch in the recent horror flick “As Above So Below” and in this he is actually plays his character reasonably well, the only problem is that the character is your stereotypical Frenchman. To coin a phrase from the Youtube channel “Cinema Sins”….in this film the character is “the Frenchiest French guy that ever Frenched!” His character development starts and ends with him refusing to eat American food, living up to the French stereotype of being fussy about food. He barely even speaks during the entire 90 minute film.
Finally we have Nana, played by Azar. Again, am I supposed to care about this character? She has two lines in the whole movie and I’m supposed to give a crap about her? No. Not happening.
So it’s a film with six characters, only one of which develops and even worse is the weird relationship between them all, in other words pretty much none except for when it’s being forced. For example, at one point Clara and Jon are having an argument when the latter is in a hot tub, he stands up and Clara sees him completely naked, cut to them having sex. I’m sorry but no. Clara is shown actually hating Jon up until this point, not one single shred of any other emotion, but as soon as she sees a penis she is all over him. No, again just no.
Reaching new heights of ridiculousness through, it gets to almost preposterous levels when the band are exceedingly upset that Jon had recorded clips of them and put them on Youtube. I’m not sure which I am more surprised at, the fact that they’re a band who get upset when they become popular, or the very fact that they all act surprised that he has been filming them when he’s had his phone right in their face on several occasions. What the hell did you think he was going to do with those clips, or did you just think he was waving a phone in your face for no reason?
It absolutely amazes me that this has received such positive reviews because even just the character of Jon is enough to put me off watching again.
DO. NOT. WATCH. THIS. FILM.
90 minutes of pure rubbish.