4 out of 10

Release Date: 2nd September 2011

Director: Karl Golden

Cast: Jack O’Connell, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Emily Barclay, Ben Batt, Tom Meeten, Stephen Wight, Iain McKee, Reuben Johnson, Sam Hazeldine and Zawe Ashton

Writer: Chris Coghill


images-6Weekender has got a brilliant soundtrack and that’s a brilliant plus if early house music is your thing. Impressively it’s a film about the music scene is actually period specific and the makers have done some research. Either that or they had flashbacks to their own memories of which particular  12″s moved the floor.  The warehouses look authentic and the whole production design gives Weekender a much needed boost of credibility.  The layouts and the manner in which the gates are marshalled are all as they were, the decor is spot on. Credit is due to those involved behind the scenes. They really show this up to be a labour of love.  It’s a minor tragedy then that these same period attentive guys didn’t get a grab of the script as they would have drawn red circles around so much of the dialogue.  It’s unfortunate, as the characters keep using modern slang or phrases that have come along since the birth of rave.  Exclamations like “Whassssup!”, “Whatever”, “You feel me?” etc litter the dialogue.  This is a shame because Weekender could have been an authentic experience.  Production values demonstrate that it’s not a half cocked cash-in throughout, so why f*ck up the script?

Here’s the plot: Two chancers; Matt (HENRY LLOYD HUGHES – THE INBETWEENERS) and Dylan???? (JACK O’CONNELL – TOWER BLOCK) are two divs on the hustle. They happen upon a ‘make-cash-quick’ scheme by putting on a rave of their own with some of their fellow stoners.  Tracking down the elusive king of the turntables,Captain Acid (TOM MEETEN – BURKE AND HARE) to headline they begin to make some serious paper.  As these things go, running battles with the police hamper their rise to stardom but until John The Rat (BEN BATT – SHAMELESS) turns up, it’s all fairly predictable.  Intimidating the life out of the boys they see their ready made cash cow get commandeered by the local scum bag.  Friends split up, girlfriends pack their bags, people get high on their own supply.  It’s all here. It’s energetically played and beyond the crap script this could have been the next 24 Hour Party People. Instead it’s just a goofy pretender to the throne.

The trouble with Weekender is that it’s not quite authentic enough for those that were there and yet it’s not quite hip or cool enough to appeal to today’s youthful club goers.  So therefore it renders most of the exercise naff and stale.  Jack O’Connell and crew are watchable enough but I was never convinced that they really felt the music in the film.  These guys were born the year the events onscreen happened funnily enough.

4 out of 10 – A nice try at capturing an important period in club land. A modern script undoes some great work by the soundtrack compilers and the set designers.  Almost authentic. Predictable to a fault as well.

See Joe ‘what’s a disco biscuit then?” Pesci II’s review below…



One thought on “WEEKENDER


    Some kids decide to have some parties, and it’s all nice for a while, then Thatcherite economic factors intervene, and it gets a bit miserable, but then there are larks in Amsterdam, and money and violence solve everyone’s problems.

    It’s just about possible that I may not be the target audience for this film, but I’m not sure who is. It’s 1990 and the rave scene has started, so it’s a bit of a nostalgia trip for those who were around at the time (I was around but preferred the Halle Orchestra at Huddersfield Town Hall – crazy times). But the film feels like it’s been made for a young audience i.e. people not even born in 1990. Would these young whippersnappers be interested? After all the film’s structure is basically a combination of ‘why don’t we put the show on right here in the barn?’ and ‘let’s teach the bully and the idiot a lesson’. It’s not a million miles away from the Children’s Film Foundation. Lessons are learnt (money is good but not that good, bad guys never win, friendship’s very important, don’t be rude about your best friend’s girlfriend etc), fun is had, bad guys hover menacingly.

    So we follow two young Mancunians played by Jack O’Connell and Henry Lloyd-Hughes as they and their pals put a party on. Then another. Then they go to Ibiza and meet one nice party boss and one nasty party boss. Then they go back home and have some more parties. But then CRIME intervenes and bad boss turns up and is a bit bad and causes trouble and the parties stop being fun and our heroes are sad. Then there’s a resolution that I must not give away, but it involves Amsterdam and a violent black man. That’s about it really. (Or am I just being a condescending old curmudgeon? Maybe this is a film which celebrates the heady carefree joys of youth, and warns how the evils of middle-age can creep up on even the most unsuspecting hedonist? You’ll just have to watch it and make your own mind up.)

    So, on the one hand we have a simplistic film about a couple of lovable rogues growing up and having some nice parties. On the other it is a deceptively subversive essay on the corrosive intersection of commercialism and altruism. (And, of course, a comment on the eternal necessity for youth to rebel. But here of course is the central paradox of the film as it does very much follow our protagonists in terms of their entrepreneurship, which is in itself an indication of conformism, as opposed to, say, their aesthetic choices.) But the film’s central thesis – that love is all you need (bless) – is undermined by the film’s last shot which suggests that the financial imperative is even more important. But I might be reading a bit too much into this. It’s mostly about parties and ‘acid house’ music, which I understand to be a form of popular music, the current status of which is unknown to me. Is this what the ‘kids’ go in for these days?

    Henry Lloyd-Hughes is likeable as the more sensible one, and Jack O’Connell (who seems to be in competition with Michael Jibson for pillock roles) is eminently punchable as the dumb(er) one. Beyond them the supporting players add a splash of colour here and there, Tom Meeten perhaps the best as ‘the maddest DJ on the scene’ (that’s what it says on the DVD blurb). OK, he’s not that mad (unless madness in DJs has a pretty low threshold, and the only big joke involving him is stolen from LOCAL HERO), but the film perks up a bit when he’s onscreen. Ben Batt is an effective enough bad boss, and Stephen Wight looks marginally bemused in a big hat. Emily Barclay is the bland all-purpose girlfriend, and Zawe Ashton turns up as the obligatory gobby northerner. The less said about Dean Andrews’ cameo as a police chief the better.

    I am reliably informed that the soundtrack is very good if you like this sort of thing but it just passed over my head (I’m sure it’s storming, stomping and awesome). The film is lively, though not manic; it’s an enthusiastic puppy whereas I was expecting some sort of crazed caged wasp. It feels a bit like TWENTY FOUR HOUR PARTY PEOPLE without the irony, misery, cleverness or comedy. (By the way there is a pregnant woman, but she’s involved in only a very tiny bit of peril, which makes a change.)

    Let’s just say this film wasn’t exactly my cup of tea (at one point I wondered how much was left so I checked: I was eleven minutes in, seventy five minutes to go; I cried), and just leave it at that.

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