5.5 out of 10

UK / Ireland Co-Production

Release Date: 1st April 2011

Director: Nick Hamm (God Send / The Hole (2001) / Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Laurence)

Cast: Ben Barnes, Robert Sheehan, Krysten Ritter, Peter Serafinowicz, Martin McCann, Stanley Townsend, Justine Waddell, Hugh O’Conor, Diarmuid Noyes, Deirdre O’Kane, Aidan McArdle with Luke Treadaway, Ralph Brown and Pete Postlethwaite

Writer: Dick Clement & Nick Le Fresnais




  • Ben Barnes: The Seventh Son, The Words, The Big Wedding, Bigga Than Ben, The Chronicles of Narnia – Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Dorian Gray, Easy Virtue, The Chronicles of Narnia – Prince Caspian, Stardust
  • Robert Sheehan: Moonwalkers, Mortal Instruments, Demons Never Die, Cherrybomb, Season Of The Witch, Misfits (TV)
  • Krysten Ritter: Big Eyes, Parks and Recreation (TV), Veronica Mars, Margaret, Breaking Bad (TV), What Happens In Vegas, Confessions of a Shopaholic, Veronica Mars (TV)
  • Peter Serafinowicz: The Unbeatables (voice), Guardians of the Galaxy, Muppets Most Wanted, Couples Retreat, The Peter Serafinowicz Show (TV), Sixty Six, Look Around You (TV), The Calcium Kid, Shaun of the Dead, Spaced (TV), Star Wars – Phantom Menace (voice)
  • Martin McCann: Titanic (TV), Shadow Dancer, The Pacific (TV)
  • Stanley Townsend: One Chance, Isolation, Cars 2 (voice), Happy Go Lucky, The Libertine, Suzie Gold, Wondrous Oblivion
  • Justine Waddell: Thr3e, The Fall (2006), The One and Only, Dracula 2000, Mansfield Park (1999)
  • Hugh O’Conor: The Stag, Reuniting The Rubins, Botched, Deathwatch, Chocolat, Hotel Splendide, The Boy From Mercury, The Young Poisoner’s Handbook, The Three Musketeers (1994), My Left Foot
  • Diamuid Noyes: Roadkill (TV), Borgia (TV), Good Vibrations, Parked
  • Deirdre O’Kane: Moone Boy (TV), Boy Eats Girl, Festival, Intermission, With or Without You
  • Aidan McArdle: The Borderlands, Mr Selfridge (TV), Morris – A Life With Bells On
  • Luke Treadaway: Fortitude (TV), Unbroken, The RiseGet LuckyCheerful Weather For The Wedding, You InsteadSt George’s DayAttack The Block, Heartless, Brothers Of The Head
  • Ralph Brown: All Things To All Men, Jack The Giant Slayer,  I Anna, Stoker, Tower BlockHuge, The Boat That Rocked, Straightheads, Flood, Exorcist – The Beginning,  Mean Machine, Star Wars – The Phantom Menace, Up N’ Under, Amistad, Wayne’s World 2, Undercover Blues, The Crying Game, Alien 3, Diamond Skulls, Scandal, Buster, Withnail & I
  • Pete Postlethwaite: The Town, Solomon Kane, Inception, Clash Of The Titans (2010), The Omen (2006), Aeon Flux, The Constant Gardner, Dark Water, I Now Pronounce You Vince and Ralph, The Shipping News, Among Giants, Amistad, Jurassic Park 2, The Serpent’s Kiss, Romeo + Juliet (1996), Brassed Off, Crimetime, Dragonheart, James and The Giant Peach, When Saturday Comes, Suite 16, The Usual Suspects, In The Name Of The Father, Anchoress, The Last Of The Mohicans, Waterland, Alien 3,  Split Second, Hamlet (1990), Distant Voices Still Lives, To Kill a Priest

One thought on “KILLING BONO

  1. KILLING BONO – review by Matt Usher aka Poo-2

    Let’s get this clear from the outset: Bono (the leading frontman singer person from popular chart-topping ‘super-group’ U2) does not get killed in this film. It is, allegedly, a true story about some people who were not in U2, but almost were, and how one of them ends up (unfairly and inaccurately) blaming Bono for his woes, and comes up with a plot to kill the famous humanitarian singing genius.

    This is the very epitome of a competent film. It’s relentlessly affable. It’s also quite incredibly long for what it is. At nearly 2 hours, it’s an epic of whimsy; you will either be mildly beguiled by its endless Irish blarney, or else desperate to escape and find something with a bit of grit in it (even an episode of Keeping Up Appearances has more grit than this).

    Ben Barnes and Robert Sheehan are absolutely 100% reliably agreeable in the main roles, as a couple of wannabe rock stars. We join then at school, they’re in a band which is enjoying a friendly rivalry with the future U2. Bono tells Barnes he wants his brother (Sheehan) in the band. Barnes says he’ll let his brother know, but of course he doesn’t. Barnes then spends the rest of his life (and the rest of the film, which is so long that it’ll feel like the rest of your life) trying to make it up to his unwitting brother. They try to make it big, but fail, and just keep on failing. As is the way, the truth comes out, and the brothers have various arguments and rapprochements, and it’s all agreeably slight and silly, even when gangsters and gunmen start turning up for debt-collecting purposes. The John Lennon bit seemed a bit out of place though. There are shenanigans a-plenty, and every cliché has its day, and the only real surprise is that after nearly two hours they still haven’t actually managed to pack all the plot in.

    Barnes is perfectly acceptable as the idiot hero, and Sheehan makes an agreeably reliable foil. Elsewhere we find a cast doing exactly what is expected of them. Peter Serafinowicz as a stereotypical hopeless agent makes the most of the few decent lines in the script. Any other decent lines were given to Pete Postlethwaite, in his final film. It’s maybe (well, definitely) not the swansong we might have hoped for, but the great man economically demonstrates why he’s going to be missed for a long time to come. Stanley Townsend is fine as a bear-like bad guy, and Justine Waddell is wasted as Serafinowicz’s wife. There’s an obligatory American thrown in as a (very minor) love interest. The chap playing Bono is probably very good – the whole U2 thing sort of passed me by, so I’ve no idea whether Martin McCann has any resemblance to Bono either in appearance or manner – but he does play a very convincing nice pop star.

    It’s all very professionally done, and it looks good (though some of the crowd scenes might have been fleshed out with a few extra extras – come on, U2 are the biggest band in the universe ever!). It’s just that it’s very difficult to get excited about KILLING BONO and not just because the great godlike man deigns to still roam among us. KILLING BONO is just dreadfully average, a painting by numbers sort of film. If you don’t watch films with any great regularity then you’ll be in for a treat, but if you’ve seen, say, eight films in your life, the chances are you’ll know the drill with this one.

    One wonders if the U2 lawyers had a look at this at any stage – U2 are presented throughout as being thoroughly noble and a force for good, guys who remember their roots and look out for their friends and are genuinely trying to save the world, and no-one has a word to say against them (not even subjectively), not even our eventually demented would-be Bono-assassinating anti-hero. In fact it’s only our silly hero who indulges in all that rock-star indulgence (drugs, unwise fornication, annoying his brother, getting involved with money-lending terrorist nutcases etc).

    Having avoided U2 throughout my life (not through choice particularly, our paths just don’t seem to have crossed), it’s curious that the film failed to stir any curiosity in me to actually hear them. Maybe it’s my loss (I’ve just made the effort to have a look at their discography and I see that I recognise at least two of their songs and very ordinary they are too – there, hopefully that’s the end of my foray into rock criticism). As an advert for the greatest rock group on the planet it’s all a bit wishy-washy, and as a story of the band that wasn’t them it’s agreeably bland.

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