Thursday, 1 September 2011

Weekender review (The List, Issue 687)

The do-it-yourself rave explosion in ‘90s Manchester is a moment of recent history ripe with storytelling potential – Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People demonstrated that wonderfully – but Weekender, Karl Golden’s brazenly shallow ode to the scene, offers less insight than a homemade video of a great night out. It’s the story of best mates Dylan (Jack O’Connell) and Matt (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), who start putting on club nights and are drawn into a world of great success and, once big-city drug dealers get wind of them, great danger. It’s a solid set-up, but Golden and writer Chris Coghill toss aside the moral, political and social issues inherent in the subject matter in favour of taking an hour and a half to say ‘remember the 90s? They were brilliant!’

Pelican Blood director Golden’s attempts at style – essentially using Dutch angles in every other scene – fail to distract from the script’s complete lack of tension, with every potentially dramatic plot turn clearly signposted, and a concluding piece of illogical storytelling that even Guy Ritchie would have reservations about committing to film. Thank the party gods then for Henry Lloyd-Hughes, whose excellent lead performance saves Weekender from being completely unwatchable.

General release from Fri 2 Sep. This review first published in The List magazine.

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