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Film review: You Instead

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3/5

After watching the trailer for You Instead I had already pretty much made up my mind of what I thought about it. Inane, clichéd and boring were my chosen adjectives.you instead

After seeing it described as an; ‘odd-ball romantic comedy filled with lust, mud, betrayal, booze and portoloos' the final nail was ready to hit the coffin.

The film was shot in July 2010 at T in the Park in Scotland and the shots of the live performances and festival goers pretty much offers 60% of the film's entertainment value.

Being a music lover and not having the fortune to have festival tickets this year this was a novel experience for me. Perhaps those lucky festival-goers would find it all a bit boring.

The actual story line of the film makes up the other 40%.

Adam (played by Luke Treadaway),a heart throb lead singer in a famous electro-pop group and Morello (Natalia Tena), lead singer in a post-punk riot girl band meet at the festival and manage to get themselves handcuffed together.

They both have a problem; the problem being that they both have to perform the biggest gig of their lives while hand-cuffed to the person they both ‘totally despise’ (each other). This is suggested to be the main conflict that the storyline surrounds.

I have a problem.

This conflict is not actually the centre of the narrative. The problem they both have is actually the fact that their respective partners (stroppy supermodel and boring banker) are actually not deep enough for them.

It’s all very reminiscent of teenage relationships. Everything is heightened x1000 (they, like, totally despise each other despite having only just met) and the ‘hate’ is actually secret romance (we all know exchanging insults in the playground = a form of flirting).

After the initial panic of being handcuffed to another person dies down and alcohol is consumed, food is eaten and general real cool festival partying happens, Adam comes to a realisation.

He confronts Morello’s banker boyfriend telling him, quite rudely, that people in bands have a telepathic connection - something he wouldn’t understand (presumably because he’s not real enough). After hours of being handcuffed to Morello he has discovered he definitely has one with her. Deep down he knows Morello understands (because she’s a rock star too).

Largely the script lets it down.

David Mackenzie, the director, says one of the things he liked most about the film was the ‘immersion experience’ and the fact that the “narrative became less and less relevant as the film found it’s cinematic space”.

I understand where he is coming from; hence my enjoyment of the festival shots. But the narrative still exists and is very important in concluding the film.

Because the script isn’t great and the narrative falls short on more than one occasion (chances of getting handcuffed to a stranger, clichés, clichés and more clichés, the conflict being stated as the problem of the performance) it reads as a really crap film.

But.

There were a few things that were actually brilliant. The acting and some pretty well directed scenes made some parts of it seem very real. A feat which I think is hard to achieve. The reality of the festival footage enhanced this and made some of it pretty incredible.

The film in itself feels disjointed. It’s like the script writer is either not very talented, or couldn’t really be bothered but the director is quite good. Hit and miss is a phrase which sums it all up perfectly.

The film was shot over two days which could be an excuse for some of the less than perfect aspects. But a weak script from Thomas Leveritt can be attributed as the centre to all You Instead's problems.

But that said this is an enjoyable film.

The parts that were good were so much so that it still made for a fairly entertaining 80 minutes.

You Instead may seem like an unfinished project but in terms of entertainment value it successfully hits the mark.

You Instead will open in cinemas across the UK on 16th Sepember 2011; certificate 15.

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