FILM REVIEW: You Instead (15)

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intShot on location at last summer’s T In The Park musical festival in Kinross-shire, Scotland, You Instead is a freewheeling love story about two singers from rival bands, who literally cannot escape each other.

Director David Mackenzie, his cast and crew stayed on site for the entire weekend, improvising with the heaving crowds and musicians to invest their film with beer- and tear-stained realism.

The result is an intimate portrait of relationships in flux that captures the giddy, alcohol-fuelled abandon of a summer music festival, from play-fighting in the mud and running the gauntlet of the stinking portaloos to the undulating sea of 80,000 people bouncing in front of the main stage.

Mackenzie punctuates his narrative with live performances.

An outrageously attired Paloma Faith sings “Upside Down”, Newton Faulkner whips the crowd into a frenzy with “Gone In The Morning” and Scottish band The Proclaimers has the entire county hollering their anthem “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”.

The director also ventures onto fairground rides close to the festival campsite, providing us with nice aerial shots as day surrenders to night and festivalgoers party into the wee small hours of the morning.

Preening indie star Adam (Luke Treadaway), one half of California electro-pop duo The Make, arrives at the festival with keyboardist Tyko (Mathew Baynton), eager to headline the main stage on Saturday night.

The band’s manager Bobby (Gavin Mitchell) keeps a close eye on his upstarts, defusing a confrontation between The Make and grungy British fem-rock outfit, The Dirty Pinks.

After some pushing and shoving, a festival security guard (Joseph Mydell) intervenes, asks everyone to join him in a group hug then promptly handcuffs Adam to Morello (Natalia Tena) from The Dirty Pinks before disappearing into the crowd.

Opposites irritate rather than attract and Adam and Morello resign themselves to their fate until someone can break their shackles.

Morello’s bandmates Kirsty (Kari Corbett), Justine (Clare Kelly) and JJ (Cora Bissett) are initially amused by her plight but they soon realise that they will have to play their Friday afternoon set with Adam on stage.

Penned by first-time screenwriter Thomas Leveritt, You Instead is a wisp of an idea, relying heavily on the chemistry between Treadaway and Tena, which reaches boiling point in a steamy shower sequence.

Both leads have good voices and are convincing in the sweaty musical sequences, with solid support from Baynton as the geek desperate to get a girl. Any girl.

Mackenzie directs loose and fast, incorporating noise and colour from the festival into every frame.

Arguments between Adam and his model girlfriend (Ruta Gedmintas) and Morello and her banker boyfriend (Alastair Mackenzie) are flimsy plot devices to delay the inevitable last dance to romantic comedy convention.

By Damon Smith

:: SWEARING :: SEX :: VIOLENCE :: RATING: 6/10

Released: September 16 (UK & Ireland), 80 mins