Not Rated | 1h 41min | Comedy, Crime | 06 Feb 2020 (New Zealand) | Movie
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98% Certified Fresh (Critic reviews) | 75% Fresh (Audience reviews)
Director: Brian Welsh
Writer: Kieran Hurley, Kieran Hurley, Brian Welsh
Stars: Cristian Ortega, Lorn Macdonald, Laura Fraser
IMDb summary: Two teenage boys in Scotland in 1994, best friends with no control over their lives, risk everything to attend an illegal rave, hoping for the best night of their boring lives.
WE ARE NOT SPOILER FREE
This review was written by Jeremy with edits by Julie
Coming of age movies can be hit or miss and the execution and delivery is everything. If you find it hard to relate to the subject or the culture or the character, it’s mostly miss. Thankfully, Brian Welsh has his finger on the pulse of the 90s Rave Culture in a way that we’ve never seen before. It talks to a specific group of people, that much is obvious. But everyone can relate to a time in their lives when they just didn’t wanna follow the rules – a time when you wanted to do whatever the hell you wanted and live outside of what society tells you is “normal”. That is the story of Beats.
We have two lads who are teenagers in1994 and also best friends and nobody, including their parents, can figure out why. They connect over music. Music is what fuels their fires and connects them on a higher level.
The use of colour in the film is definitely worth mentioning because the entire film apart from some specific scenes is filmed in black and white. The only time you see colour is when there is a “boom box” or radio or tape deck in the scene. There is a red light that pulses on every radio or anything that can emit sound. Hence the name of the film “Beats”. Yes, this film is about music but it’s main focus is how the youth of the 90s in Scotland used a specific type of music to defy a nation (and its police force) when the Labour party approved the bill to stop large groups of people listening to anything with a repetitive beat. That is the gist of the film which is told from the point of view of Johno and his wayward mate, Spanner.
While the majority of this film is excellently written and filmed, we found that in some scenes the dialogue was a little wonky as well as difficult to understand from actors using a heavy Scottish accent. But it’s a minor flaw we’re willing to overlook for everything else that was simply outstanding as a movie experience.
The principle actor Lorn Macdonald won a Bafta for his amazing performance as Johno’s friend “Spanner”. He is the true vehicle for the spirit of this age and the events that the film depicts.
The ending is quite nice as it ties up all the questions anyone may have had afterwards such as will Johno and Spanner go to jail (jokes) but seriously, it does a good job of tidying up loose ends.
We loved it and we’re showing our Techno love hearts in the form of four pretty, well deserved golden stars.
If you like our content, you can follow us on WordPress here, on Letterboxd here, on Twitter here or on Instagram here.
Don’t forget to check out our podcast updated weekly right here.
Thanks for your support!
Freelance entertainment writer and reviewer. Visit my blog on https://thebrokenquill.com.