Thursday, May 24, 2012

Review of TONIGHT YOU'RE MINE (2012)

- Rated R for language and some sexual material.
- Starring Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Matthew Baynton, Alastair Mackenzie, Gavin Mitchell
- Written by Thomas Leveritt
- Directed by David Mackenzie
- Running time : 1hr 20min

Shot in just five days during the 2010 "T in the Park" music festival in Scotland, this movie is about 2 musicians, Adam (Treadaway) and Morello (Tena).  They are both in different bands that are playing at the festival.  The first time their groups meet backstage, they get in a slight feud which ends with a spiritual security guard handcuffing Adam and Morello together, before he magically disappears.  The two spend much of the festival looking for him so they can get the key to release them.  To further complicate matters, each of them have a significant other that they must explain their situation to.  This causes a series of problems which include Morello's band performing with Adam still cuffed to her, sleeping situations (which has the 2 couples sleeping together), and going to the bathroom.  But something surprising happens when the two begin to grow affection for one another in just 24 hours. 

The movie, which is shot with a crude looking digital camera,  opens with Adam and his bandmate Tyko performing a song in the back of a moving car for an amateur filmmaker's documentary.  It ends with a confrontation with Morello's band as they shake the car up while they're still filming and singing.  Then, the intriguing premise is brought upon us in pretty unrealistic way.  It felt weird that this dude just handcuffs them together.  It seemed a bit off.  I also didn't like Adam's tour manager in these opening scenes, as he felt as phony as carbless Cheesecake.  I was really prepared to hate this.

But them something interesting happened.  The main characters began to grow on me and that's mainly do to the convincing work of Luke Treadaway and Natalia Tena.  Both do a great job and share a genuine chemistry with one another.  You really felt that they were falling for one another as the film went on.  I liked Matthew Baynton as Adam's bandmate Tyko.  He's kind of the comic relief but he was likable enough as to not being annoying.  I also liked Sophie Wu as the filmmaker in a small role. 

Another reason why this eventually worked for me was because of the atmosphere.  I have been to several music festivals, and apart from Documentaries, I have never seen them properly captured on film.  The vibe felt right.  I suppose it helped that they filmed while an actual festival was happening.  It definitely made it feel authentic.  The music is also really good, especially Morello's band.  In one of the film's highlights, I really enjoyed the moment during Morello's concert when Adam was cuffed to her, and he starts playing the keyboard, incorporating the song "tainted love" into their song.  That was clever.  This movie made me nostalgic for the mid-90's music fests that I attended.  Shooting it in digital really added to the authentic feel.

It took a bit for me to get into it, but the characters eventually won me over.  It's a very small film, but I really enjoyed the romance between Adam and Morello.  I think it was mostly ad-libbed, and it works.  The actors really did a good job creating little character details and interactions with each other that felt real.  And the music was good.  If you love music fests and low key romances, I would give it a try. 

*** (out of ****)

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