Saturday, February 26, 2011

Great Reviews Pour In for David Mackenzie's "You Instead"

In the wake of last night's premiere of You Instead, there has a been a large and steady stream of postive reviews for the film, both critical and from fans alike. Notable are ones from STV, Variety (they like a film by David, huzzah! hope is not lost after all lol) and Screen Daily. Please note: the two trade reviews are inaccessible for most, so have posted below so we can all enjoy.
PS Photos from the red carpet premiere can be seen (lots, but wee tiny from Rex here, more available on the official You Instead FB here Plus check out one from the Herald (thanks Kirsty via Wearewire)

The Scottish Television review:

"First of all, You Instead is not the ‘T in the Park movie’, just as The Social Network turned out not to be the ‘Facebook movie’. That might be an easy mistake to make for Young Adam and Hallam Foe director David Mackenzie’s latest movie, which he and his cast and crew somehow managed to shoot on location there in just five days last year, but there is a far wider audience who will appreciate the themes on offer.

Mackenzie’s first attempt at a lighter romantic comedy – though still far from conventional – You Instead is more about the transitory nature of the festival experience, revealing emotions wrapped up in the moment, the sort of which will be familiar and relatable to anyone who’s set up camp in a rickety tent and trudged across muddy fields for a few days to see some of their favourite bands."


An Icon Film Distribution release of a BBC Films presentation in association with Head Gear Films, Metrol Technology, Creative Scotland of a Sigma Films production. (International sales: Bankside Films, London.) Produced by Gillian Berrie. Directed by David Mackenzie. Screenplay, Thomas Leveritt.
With: Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Mat Baynton, Gavin Mitchell, Joseph Mydell, Sophie Wu, Ruta Gedmintas, Alastair Mackenzie, Newton Faulkner, Kari Corbett, Rebecca Benson, Jo Mango.
The concept of "You Instead" -- boy gets handcuffed to girl, but they end up making sweet music together at a rock festival -- is pure college-kid fantasy. But with its breezy atmosphere and killer soundtrack, this hipster romantic comedy should prove a crowdpleaser at youth-skewed film fests, or even in cinema tents at other music events, before going on to fill niches as a specialty item. Pic may not be Scots helmer David Mackenzie's best effort, but it's easily his most lighthearted, a cheery trifle that reps a contrast to his recent pics, the apocalyptic "Perfect Sense" and U.S.-set comic misfire "Spread."

American Adam (Brit Luke Treadaway, once again playing a musician after his debut turn in "Brothers of the Head") and his bandmate Tyko ("Hereafter's" Mat Baynton, a standout with excellent comic timing) together comprise electro-pop combo the Make, and are headlining at Scotland's biggest outdoor music festival, T in the Park. (Pic was shot entirely on location during the real festival in 2010.)

On his way to meet their manager at the fest, Bobby (Gavin Mitchell), Adam gets into an argument with Morello (Natalia Tena), the English lead singer of up-and-coming, riot-grrrl-y outfit the Dirty Pinks. A passing preacher (Joseph Mydell) comes out of nowhere and handcuffs the two of them together to teach them a lesson about peace, then runs off with the key.

It's obvious that Adam and Morello will end up falling for each other sometime before crews arrive to clean up the beer cans, but first they must bicker, learn to respect one another after playing a gig together while handcuffed, and so on. Script throws a few easily circumvented impediments in their way, such as a partner for each. Adam's shallow arm candy, Lake (Ruta Gedmintas), a kind of cross between Paris Hilton and Kate Moss but not as interesting as either, obligingly dumps him. Getting rid of Morello's more likable if dull b.f., Mark (Alastair Mackenzie, the helmer's brother), poses more of problem, even at the risk of auds losing some sympathy for the central would-be lovers.

In "A Midsummer Night's Dream" style, everything and everyone gets tied up neatly in pretty albeit mud-splattered bows by the end. Along the way, the dialogue errs too often on the side of trite, and the performances feel a bit stiff, lacking the sort of spontaneity one would expect from an effort that was partially improvised, per press notes.

None of that really matters because what the pic does best, and what Mackenzie seems most interested in (apart from filming the sex scenes, which he does with his usual relish), is capturing the atmosphere of a great music festival, in all its damp, squalid, psychotropic joyfulness. Working largely with handheld cameras, pic feels properly embedded in all the hedonism, and frequently pauses just to observe the colorful crowds or take in another act performing, such Brit musician Newton Faulkner (who also interacts as himself with the characters) or folk act Jo Mango.

Given the authentic talents on display, it's a shame the music played by the lead characters' bands isn't more convincingly aces. Morello's set, produced by Glaswegian artist Brian McAlpine, is suitably raw and raucous but not very memorable, and pic strains credibility most when it tries to offer a hopelessly retro duo like the Make (with music produced by the Vaselines' Eugene Kelly) as a plausible headline act. The '80s may be coming back into fashion, but not this much yet. Otherwise, the lineup of tracks heard reps excellent work on the part of music supervisors Karen Elliott and Abbie Lister.

Camera (color, HD-to-35mm), Giles Nuttgens; editor, Jake Roberts; musical directors, Eugene Kelly, Brian McAlpine; music supervisor, Karen Elliott, Abbie Lister; sound (Dolby Digital), Chris Campion; sound designer, Douglas MacDougall; supervising sound editor, Howard Halsall; re-recording mixers, Chris Sinclair, Michael Mackinnon; assistant director, Danny McGrath; second unit directors, Adrian McDowall, Colin Kennedy; casting, Kahleen Crawford. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (market), Feb. 13, 2011. (Also in Glasgow Film Festival; SXSW Film Festival -- Spotlight Premieres.)


Dir: David Mackenzie. UK. 2011. 90mins
Rock’n’roll rom-com You Instead delivers a delightful blend of star-crossed lovers and authentic music, all set against the backdrop of one engagingly long night at Scotland’s T in the Park music festival. Shot in just four days, David Mackenzie’s vibrant feel-good film is frothy and fun, and handled right could be a hit with music and rom-com fans.
David Mackenzie directs with a freewheeling sureness, allowing the vibrant backdrop of the festival to be a major character in the film.
The film had its world premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival prior to an outing at SXSW. It screened in the EFM at Berlin and should be of interest to indie distributors who know how to work the music connections. Working from a script by Thomas Leveritt, the sheer nature of this low-budget on-the-hoof project meant that there was also a good deal of improvisation, with Mackenzie and his cast and crew flitting in and out of the real-life festival goers and musicians at last year’s event.
It very smartly gets its cliché moments out of the way in the first few minutes. Indie US star Adam (Luke Treadaway) and his band partner Tyko (Matthew Baynton) are ‘wackily’ performing a song in the back of a tiny Smart Car for a local radio show, when they are good naturedly set-upon by a grungy Brit all-girl band led by Morello (Natalia Tena).
Their mild spat is interrupted by a roaming religious man (Al Green), who promptly handcuffs Adam and Morello together and vanishes into the crowd. Naturally enough, the pair bicker and feud as they try and find ways of getting out of the handcuffs – especially as both are due to perform before the day (and night) is out.
Both her partners in tow – she has a wealthy banker boyfriend, while he is with a supermodel named Lake (Ruta Gedmintas) – while at the same time Tyko and her fellow band members are also doing their best to help. Completely useless – and increasingly amusing – are the antics of his manager (Scottish comedian Gavin Mitchell), who simply gets drunk and tries to pick up any woman around.
Naturally enough – this is a rom-com remember – they start to appreciate each other, especially when Adam joins-in when Morello and her band have to perform their set. While she singing, the still handcuffed Adam starts to play the Soft Cell number Tainted Love on the on-stage keyboard, working the lyrics into her song. It is a triumphant centrepiece of the film and completely seals the deal in terms of charm.
Even when he is furtively handed the key to the handcuffs, Adam, who is rather more quickly enamoured of Morello than she is off him, opts to stay handcuffed to her. There is plenty of frolicking in the mud (a music festival must), drinking, playful behaviour and a charming sense of the two coming to slowly appreciate each other. And despite a moment of modest drama, the feel-good romantic ending is richly appropriate for a film that wears its sense of romance very much as a badge of pride.
Luke Treadaway – gangly, cool and with a rock-star’s quiff – is engagingly low-key as Adam and is very believable both on-stage and in moments when he slowly starts to fall for Morello. He and his twin brother Harry have played musicians before, in Brothers Of The Head, and he handles the rock’n’roll aspect perfectly.
The real find, though, is Natalia Tena as the feisty and dynamic Morello. In real-life she has her own band, named Molotov Jukebox (two of the songs in the film were written by them), and is perhaps best known for playing Nymphadora Tonks in the Harry Potter films, but here she confirms she has the dynamism and personality to handle a lead role.
David Mackenzie directs with a freewheeling sureness, allowing the vibrant backdrop of the festival to be a major character in the film. In truth You Instead is a youthful blend of The 39 Steps (for the handcuffs) withBefore Sunrise (for the romance) made with the energy of the Richard Lester Beatles films, and while at heart it never takes great dramatic risks with its characters or plotline, it is actually all the better for that.
It is a playful and thoroughly enjoyable romantic romp through the T in the Park (we also get to see cameos from the likes of real-life musicians Paolo Nutini, Biffy Clyro, Jo Mango and The Proclaimers) that really does deliver the feel-good quota in spades.

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