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United Kingdom 2011
Directed by
David Mackenzie
80 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Lia McCrae-Moore
3 stars

You Instead

Synopsis: Fueding rock stars, Adam (Luke Treadaway) and Morello (Natalia Tena) are due to perform at Scotland’s T Park music festival but within the first hour they find themselves handcuffed together by a festival security guard with a fiendish sense of humour. The longer they spend locked together the more they begin to understand one another and the pull of attraction takes over.

You Instead is a low budget Scottish, indie art-house film with surprising charm. It is not altogether successful at uniting all the required cinematic elements that make up a great film but it does manage to hold your attention long enough to suck you into its rather shambolic storyline.

Despite its unrefined and at times clunky script, this film pulls off some sweet, witty one-liners and endears its audience with characters who are flawed but unaffected. All of them like to party (in their own way) and as the night progresses they embrace the loose festival lifestyle with gusto. It is quite intoxicating watching them through the lens of a shaky hand-held camera.  Treadaway and Tena give convincing-enough performances as the two leads but I felt that the best turns came from the supporting actors whose quirky traits and character development were more fully realized and believable.

The lovely thing about the film is how well it captures the music festival atmosphere. The mud, the drugs, the smelly portable toilets, the charge of the music and the momentum of the dancing are all caught vibrantly on camera and you do leave the cinema on a bit of a buzz.

While I wasn’t whole-heartedly convinced by its premiss, I was drawn in it by its vibe and managed to get out a couple of hearty laughs despite myself.




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