Thursday 19 October 2017

Resurrecting famous gig with teen love tale

Spike Island.
Spike Island.

Paul Whitington

Film Review: Spike Island (15A, general release, 105 minutes) 3 STARS

Director: Mat Whitecross Stars: Elliott Tittensor, Nico Mirallegro, Jordan Murphy, Emilia Clarke

An inadvertent companion piece to Shane Meadows' recent documentary The Stone Roses: Made of Stone, Spike Island is a coming-of-age drama set around the band's famous open-air concert in the summer of 1990.

Spike Island is a reclaimed toxic waste site on the River Mersey, and more than 27,000 people flooded in from Manchester on May 27, 1990, to see a concert that was considered a badly organised failure at the time but is now a legend.

Tickets were gold dust, but young sixth former 'Tits' (Elliott Tittensor) thinks that he and his friends are sorted. Tits and Dodge (Nico Mirallegro) have formed a band, and reckon they're pretty good. Tits has been assured that they'll get on the Spike Island guest list, and Dodge hopes to present The Stone Roses with a demo tape. But Tits' father is seriously ill, both boys are in love with the same local beauty, Sally (Emilia Clarke), and, as the day of the concert nears, everything starts to go wrong.

Spike Island evokes its time and place reasonably well on what looks like a tight budget, but those who go expecting a film about the Roses will be sorely disappointed. Though iconic songs pop up now and then, this is essentially a teenage love story with some salty wit, lots of swearing, decent performances and a soap opera sensibility.

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