Weekender Review

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Trailer
  • Weekender film still

Score

Beneath the spot on clothes and haircuts, Karl Golden’s film is unremarkable in almost every single way.

Iconic cultural periods deserve equally iconic films. But though the accoutrements of nostalgia are easy to devise, getting them to work on screen is an entirely different challenge. This turns out to be Weekender’s major problem. Beneath the spot on clothes and haircuts, Karl Golden’s film is unremarkable in almost every single way. If anything, it feels like a throwback to the National Lottery-funded crud churned out in the wake of Trainspotting and Lock, Stock in the late '90s. How’s that for looking back in anguish?

Chris Coghill’s screenplay is no love letter to the Manchester rave era, nor is it really even about music culture. Instead, the MDMA epoch is merely a backdrop to the story of two young lads, Dylan (Jack O’Connell) and Matt (Henry Lloyd-Hughes), on the make. After starting their own party night, they’re soon attracting success – and attention from local gangsters. What follows is the standard rise and fall narrative we’ve seen a million times before.

O’Connell at least puts in a likeable performance as Dylan – Johnny Boy to Lloyd-Hughes’ Charlie. But they’re both outshone by Ben Batt as a Salford crook. He’s the one cast member who lifts the film with his presence, hiding behind a front of civility and calmness. "We’re all mates," is his mantra while fleecing the hopeless pair.

The nightclub settings are imagined without flair, while the rapid editing simply ensures that the clichés come thick and fast. By way of comparison, Lynne Ramsay achieved a kind of gorgeous elevation in Morvern Callar simply by slowing down the world, and cutting her images to other types of music. You can’t help but question whether Golden, his writer or producers have ever even stepped foot in a nightclub – illegal or not. The whole enterprise comes off as ill-conceived, misguided and phoney.

At best, Weekender might attract curious older viewers with vague memories of being drugged up in abandoned warehouses. The soundtrack is the film’s only gift to them, culled, obviously, from acid house hits of yesteryear.

Anticipation

Grab the glow sticks and whistles, we’re going to a rave. Potential fun to be had.

3

Enjoyment

This is one dodgy trip.

2

In Retrospect

A dead party with too few tricks up its sleeve.

1
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View 3 comments

Simon

3 years ago
yes, they really should have done all the rave scenes with classical music playing, or maybe some salsa?

Sarah White

3 years ago
Wouldn't you know it,
Martyn's a poet...

Jane E

3 years ago
Oh come on, it wasn't that bad - the performances were great, the storyline was a bit predictable but still well done and it was very funny in places. It was never going to be as good as Human Traffic but the music was sound as was the sense of period. And I thought the way it showed the real idealism and cameraderie of the era then the rise of the dark forces as organised crime moved in on the young naive ravers was pretty good. I think some of you cyncial lot need to get out again!
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