You Instead

YOU INSTEAD. Starring Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Mathew Baynton and Alastair Mackenzie. Directed by David Mackenzie. 77 mins. Rated MA 15+ (Strong coarse language).

While not suggesting anyone should not see You Instead, I would make a caution: anyone over thirty should give a second thought. Anyone over this, a caution, unless you have happy memories of going to music festivals (especially if it rained and offered plenty of mud) or are a die-hard rock and roll fan.

This is what You Instead is about – an immersion in a Scots music festival, T in the Garden, in Kinross Shire. It was filmed there over five days. The plot concerns two days. And, even though the film runs only 80 minutes, it seems longer.

Adam and his partner, Tyko (Matthew Baynton), have arrived at the festival to sing You Instead. Morello is there with her girl group. They bicker a little and, when they are urged to pray in a group by an event officer, he handcuffs them. They spend most of the rest of the film handcuffed. This is no Defiant Ones!

Adam (Luke Treadaway, who composed You Instead) is somewhat taciturn, skinny and not always as interesting as all that. Morello (Natalia Teno), on the other hand, is far more vivacious. They quarrel, they taunt each other, they tangle. Their respective girlfriend and boyfriend make rash judgments and go off on their own. You could probably write the rest of the screenplay yourself, handing over to the cast opportunities for improvisation, which they take, not always persuasively.

It’s all a bit surface characterisation, a fair amount of superficiality and promiscuity (from their girlfriend, boyfriend, the singing partner and the manager). Of course, it has a feelgood ending when Adam gets the crowd (who yell, jump, pump the air and sing as they always do at festivals, all in individual conformism) to call for Morello to join him on stage. And, that’s it.

 Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.

Hopscotch.

Out July 12, 2012.


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