Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Good Vibrations (2012)

If you were ever looking for the middle ground between Michael Winterbottom's Factory Records biopic Twenty Four Hour Party People and Yann Demange's Troubles set thriller '71, you can now say you have finally found it with Good Vibrations - Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn's film about Belfast's godfather of punk, Terri Hooley. 

Terri Hooley is what you'd call a character. An idealist with the best of intentions and a firm conviction, at the height of The Troubles he decided to singlehandedly draw people back out from the cracks and unite the divisions by the power of music alone. He did this by opening up a record store on Great Victoria Street, a dilapidated war torn street that was known to all as 'Bomb Alley', which led in turn to a label putting out music from Rudi, The Outcasts and, most famously, bringing The Undertones' hit single Teenage Kicks to the masses. 

Or as Hooley puts it;

"Good Vibrations is not just a record shop. It's not just a label. It's a way of life" 

This film made its network premiere on BBC2 last weekend and it is a wonderfully cheerful, optimistic, warm and  immensely likeable movie whose title couldn't be any more apt - it really does have 'good vibrations'. There's something genuinely uplifting about Hooley's spirit - brought vividly and lovably to life by Richard Dormer - as he defiantly goes about bringing joy and shelter from the miseries of Sectarian life and boots on the ground British rule, even if his entrepreneurial skills and business sense could leave Factory's Tony Wilson shaking his head. Tellingly, 24HPP's producer Andrew Eaton also produced this biopic and this film shares both that one's wit and vitality as well as a similar (real life) story trajectory. It's also laugh out loud funny in places and boasts a great performance from the lovely Jodie Whittaker as Dormer's long suffering wife as well as a series of cameos from the likes of Dylan Moran, Adrian Dunbar and Liam Cunningham.

Really not at all convinced by the guy playing John Peel though!

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