Wednesday 16 August 2017

Northern Soul - 'the music is fantastic (well, it’d have to be) and just about manages to cover up the film’s many flaws

Northern Soul
Northern Soul

George Byrne

Drama. Starring Elliot James Langridge, Josh Whitehouse, Antonia Thomas, Christian Mackay, Steve Coogan, Ricky Tomlinson, Lisa Stansfield. Directed by Elaine Constantine. Cert 16

3*

You certainly can’t fault Elaine Constantine for her attention to period detail in this drama set in the Northern Soul scene of the early ’70s.

The colour schemes, clothes, hair and feel of the times are spot-on, but it’s a pity that the same care wasn’t given to the story and script.

The set-up is that of a frustrated outsider, John (newcomer Elliot James Langridge), who finds a purpose in life and a new best friend in Matt (Josh Whitehouse, another debutant), who introduces him to the delights of the Northern Soul scene, where obscure American soul tracks are the soundtrack and all-night dancing, fuelled by amphetamines, the rasion d’etre of their existence.

The pair have ambitions to start up their own club night, but while John is fastidious and clear in his ambitions Matt is a hair-trigger character, given to berating dancers on the mic if they don’t respond to the music he’s playing.

You can spot the rift coming a mile off, particularly when John falls for nurse Angela (Antonia Thomas) but while the film takes some odd twists and turns, not least in looking at the drugs aspect of the scene, you’re never really in any doubt about where it’s going.

That said, the music is fantastic (well, it’d have to be) and just about manages to cover up the film’s many flaws.

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