Rock 'n' Roll, Mom!

Nowhere Boy                                                                            2009
by Sam Taylor-Wood, Biopic, United Kingdom, 98'

No music festivals for me this summer... but plenty of film festivals! I need to keep my expenses at a minimum and what better way to feed my hunger for culture than spending 3,50€ an a ticket to a nice and entertaining independent movie you hardly get to see anywhere else or even pirate it on the internet. (Not the case for the one I'm going to talk about in this post, but anyway...) Yesterday was my first time at CURTAS, a renown short film festival. But curiously me and my friends caught a themed session where they exhibit feature length films of directors that at some point had a short film awarded in previous editions of the festival. This one was dedicated to English photographer and conceptual artist Sam Taylor-Wood who won several awards in 2008 with the short film Love You More (produced by Anthony Minghella, by the way).

Nowhere Boy is a film about John Lennon's teenager years and his life before he became widely famous as a member of The Beatles. At the same time it is also a delightful journey through a bit of Rock 'n' Roll history and how it influenced Lennon and determined his future path. The references go from Elvis Presley to Screamin' Jay Hawkins and, most importantly, Buddy Holly.

I must say I really enjoyed it. But the more I analyse it the more faults I find in the directing. It's very conventional and the production is also a commonplace despite the good photography. And although the acting by most of the actors was well delivered there were still too many clichés going around. Too much drama and whining got in the way as well. But hey, I guess Lennon had a very tragic adolescence.

Someone at the end said that the soundtrack should have had more of The Beatles but I thought about it and it makes sense that none of their songs were included. I mean, they don't even get mentioned a single time during the whole movie and it all ends with Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and a few other musicians still together as The Quarrymen. Not to mention it would totally stain the perfect skiffle mood set throughout the film.

Overall it makes a very picturesque and entertaining documentary of Liverpool during the 50s. I must also reassert that the whole Rock 'n' Roll vibe of the film is the best part. One can even get deeply involved in Lennon's story having in mind that in the end he got his desired success but which fatally ended with his assassination in 1980. Recommended. Watch it regardless of what you think about The Beatles because it has nothing to do with it.

And now a bit of ear and eye candy to finish (this song was not included in the film, it's just a personal favourite):

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