Saturday, 25 October 2014

Northern Soul (2014)




Nicely evocative of the scene - to the extent that you can almost feel the sweat on your body and smell the stench of the beer in the dance hall - Northern Soul, Elaine Constantine's debut mutually released cinemas and the DVD market this week suffers from being a project that is a something of an authentic style over actual substance piece.

2010's Soul Boy previously attempted to cover this ground and though that was a somewhat cliched depiction/representation of the Northern Soul scene it remains more peppy and enjoyable than this film which seems to want to be more realistic warts and all but ultimately remains less interesting and engaging.



The cameos of Steve Coogan, Lisa Stansfield, Ricky Tomlinson, Ashley Taylor Dawson, Christian McKay, John Thomson and James Lance add weight to the largely novice cast but the script in the main lets them down thanks to flawed or ill considered/confusing narratives that lead to dead ends and fail to add the character they so sorely require. It is perhaps only Coogan, naturally, who holds our interest playing a boorish school teacher.




As someone who lives not far from Wigan and can honestly claim to know several of the true 'Faithful' from this era, it's also saddening and unrealistic to see another depiction of this scene that concentrates itself with drug use. Those that I know who were there say that whilst drugs were spoke of - which suggests they were around at the very least - they were not truly part of the scene for the masses. For those that I know at least the music alone was enough to have them buzzing so energetically on the dancefloor, and kudos to them for that. If Northern Soul as a film does one thing it is to remind us of just how fantastic the music gleaned for that moment in time truly was.


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