Hoult delivers a killer performance. Shame. The rest of the film didn’t.
An A&R man (Nicholas Hoult) working at the height of the Britpop music craze goes to extremes in order to find his next hit.
He’s come a long way from About A Boy. Channeling his inner Patrick Bateman, Nicholas Hoult kills in this patchy BUT strangely watchable satire.
The demented opening sequence certainly set the tone. You knew what you were getting yourself into. Hoult’s cocky snake charmer had a hypnotic effect. He really carried the piece. Casually talking about how bad music has gotten while shooting up cocaine and urinating on a trampy looking James Corden.
You read that, right? Disgusted. Then this won’t be for you. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Stelfox is a monster. He has NO remorse and will NOT stop. Ambitious doesn’t even come close to describing how far the man will go to climb up the ladder.
The film gave an American Psycho meets 24 Hour Party People vibe. I’m NOT familiar with the John Niven novel BUT I will certainly be adding this to my reading list. Unfortunately book lovers, I can’t make comparisons. BUT when does a film ever top a book?
I did feel a little nostalgic as the film went back to the 90s indie scene. Junkie XL delivers another decent soundtrack. NOT quite Mad Max proportions BUT with Blur, Oasis and The Prodigy on the playlist, I was content.
The insults aimed at the music industry hit too close to home. Most notably with Moritz Bleibtrau’s (Run Lola Run) eccentric performance as the sex craved Eurotrash DJ Rudi. A derivative club anthem breaking the charts left, right and centre with some lazy bass and repetitive lyrics. Music really hasn’t changed.
Stelfox’s preaching about integrity and authentic music soon laughed off when he gets a nice pay check from signing the mad desk jockey. BUT at the same time, it did feel a tad dated with all the A & R scouting and sound house gigs. Not many sound houses going around my neck of the woods any more.
With Stelfox constantly breaking the fourth wall and narrating, it reminded me a little of Filth BUT the subject matter just wasn’t as controversial or satirical enough. His obsession to beat a rival A & R scout (Tom Riley – Da Vinci’s Demons) was ridiculous. Resorting to all sorts of desperate measures.
Hoult was a tour de force BUT after a while, there wasn’t much else going on. Once he snorted and swallowed some drugs here and effed and jeffed there, it soon got very repetitive. Despite being a great platform for an underrated British cast, they weren’t given the best characters. Craig Roberts (Submarine) might as well have been non-existent as Stelfox’s underling. Whether that was the intention is another matter. Edward Hogg’s (Bunny and the Bull) dimwitted detective was irritating. Every time he stumbled into a scene, I could feel my interest waning.
Corden was wasted in his role. He looked the part BUT was pushed into the background for the majority of the film. The only real laugh I got out of his character Waters was that despite Stelfox’s best efforts to destroy his reputation, the powers that be were still considering him due to experience.
Ed Skrein delivered a much more convincing turn than his performance in The Transporter Refueled as Rent. The self-made manager trying to find the next Spice Girls in a group of Jeremy Kyle rejects. Georgia King’s (Cockneys Vs. Zombies) didn’t do a bad job as Stelfox’s manipulative PA. It was a shame that her character only got interesting in the closing minutes when it was too little, too late.
The only problem with these sort of films was that there was only ever going to be two outcomes. And despite a ridiculously crazy and bizarre drug-induced finale, the end result was still a little too predictable and abrupt for my liking.
The pace may have lagged and the plot a little weak. BUT a stellar turn from Hoult makes this dark mess worth a watch.