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Simon Read [Film Festival 06.24.09] movie review comedy



Year: 2009
Directors: Shane Meadows
Writers: Shane Meadows & Paddy Considine
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: projectcyclops
Rating: 7 out of 10

At last, Shane Meadows has made a straight-up comedy! Not just a comedy, but a Christopher Guest style, ‘Spinal Tap’ inspired faux-rockumentary. Paddy Considine (star of BAFTA winning Christopher Morris short, My Wrongs 8245-8249 and 117) plays Le Donk, an irrepressible rock roadie with a pregnant ex-girlfriend (Peep Show’s Olivia Coleman) and a rapper sidekick, whom he’s going to help hit the big-time. Shane himself shows up at Le Donk’s flat with his documentary crew and they follow him on his adventures, touring with The Arctic Monkeys and attempting to gain some recognition for his buddy, real life rapper Scorz-Ayz-Ee, playing himself.


The best thing about Le Donk is that Paddy, Olivia and Shane seem to be the only people fully in on the joke, almost everyone else in the film is simply acting normally, as they assume it’s just a real documentary about these guys. Considine inhabits the character as if he’s been playing him his entire life, with subtle mannerisms and in-jokes, affectations and a self-depreciating sense of humour. When Shane’s crew first strap on his remote microphone, he turns to the camera and jokes, “I’m just like that Donnie Darko, going into the mafia!” which doesn’t even make sense but works perfectly in establishing the oddball character, as when he tells Meadows not to make him look bad, and that, “I am actually a particularly funny person…”

The worst thing about Le Donk is that Meadows has, as one would kind of expect, given in to the twee nature of the modern Indie scene and the hipster image that WARP films represents. Although Donk himself is more of a lovable looser, the groupies, managers and bands he meets are all cooler-than-thou, trendy fashion victims, the kind that personally make my blood boil and have me reaching for my Uzi. Le Donk is pretty funny about it all though, so I’m on his side. When he introduces the band as, “The Arctical Monkeys” and comments that it’s, “Kids music really…” I let out a sigh of relief, Donk’s no stooge. The use of extended montages, cut to scene tunes, does grate after the second or third time around, but the rest of the film makes-up for the filler.

It’s really just fun to see the actors and film-makers interacting and obviously having fun together, without letting it become self-indulgent or tiring. A scene where Shane gives Donk some advice on women, while they’re both hiding from Olivia’s obnoxious new boyfriend, stood out as improvised genius, as well as a jab at Pet Shop Boys when Donk is despairing over his lack of musical skill and laments, “I’m that one that stands at the back with the keyboard, you know, I’m not one with any real talent.”

Once again the press and media screening was packed-out with people filling the aisles and watching from the side-lines, so I can happily predict a bona fide comedy hit, and wait eagerly for what’s next from one of Britain’s most daring and unpredictable film-makers.

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Pat (10 years ago) Reply

i was already bored halfway through the trailer.... this seems like one of those ideas that sounds great down at the pub, but a year later on film is just plain stupid.

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Bill Cutting (10 years ago) Reply

Your wrong, if you saw it and did find it boring you have no soul.

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Ben Austwick (10 years ago) Reply

I almost groaned out loud when you mentioned the indie tweeness. Shane Meadows is a fantastic director, but he has this side of him that ocassionally indulges a very safe interpretation of Englishness - it's hard to believe the same person who directed This Is England and Dead Man's Shoes also directed Once Upon a Time in the Midlands and Somers Town. He's like a split personality.

Great review BTW.


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