Sing Street

Empire (UK) - - CINEMAS - OUT /

MAY 20

12A 106 MINS. DI­REC­TOR John Car­ney CAST Fer­dia Walsh-peelo, Lucy Boyn­ton, Jack Reynor

When his fam­ily falls on hard times, Conor (Walsh-peelo) is moved from his fee-pay­ing school to the lo­cal comp. In a bid to make friends, work out who he is and im­press a girl, he starts a band. HERE’S AN ex­pres­sion used by Sing Street’s dorky hero to describe the mu­sic of The Cure: “happy sad”. Some­thing that makes you feel a lit­tle do­lor­ous, but in quite a bouncy way. The same de­scrip­tion could be used for the films of John Car­ney. This is his third sortof-mu­si­cal in a row, af­ter Once and Be­gin Again, and it’s an­other full-hearted cel­e­bra­tion of lay­ing your­self out for love, even if you get a bit tram­pled on in the process. This time it con­cerns those most ro­man­ti­cally dra­matic of crea­tures: teenagers.

In 1980s Dublin, the eco­nomic down­turn means 14 year-old Conor (Fer­dia Walsh-peelo, a splen­did find) is taken out of his posh school and sent to the lo­cal com­pre­hen­sive, a nest of fu­ri­ous priests and bul­lies thrilled to tear at fresh meat. Partly for es­cape, mostly to im­press an older girl (Lucy Boyn­ton), Conor forms a band. Like any teenager, th­ese kids use pop mu­sic to un­der­stand their feel­ings, but Conor and his friends dis­til the likes of Du­ran Du­ran and The Jam into their own com­po­si­tions, men­tored by Conor’s older brother (Jack Reynor). It’s as much a story of brotherly af­fec­tion as ro­man­tic love, and equally mov­ing on both counts. Of the youth­ful cast, Reynor is the only recog­nis­able face, but Car­ney pulls strong per­for­mances from all the fresh-faced un­knowns, who have to carry an equal load of drama and com­edy.

The mix of mu­sic and kitchen sink drama, plus Ir­ish­ness, might make The Com­mit­ments the ob­vi­ous com­para­tor, but think more in the vein of Son Of Ram­bow, with mu­sic in­stead of movies. It shares the same interest in chil­dren mak­ing their own worlds in or­der to es­cape the one they can’t change. Car­ney en­joys the op­por­tu­nity to show greater ex­u­ber­ance than his pre­vi­ous films al­lowed, get­ting cheer­fully car­ried away with fan­tasy se­quences and home­made mu­sic videos for gen­uinely catchy songs. They’re pas­tiches, but the New Ro­man­tic strut of Rid­dle Of The Model and the Hall & Oates-meet­s­the Duck­tales theme tune bounce of Drive It Like You Stole It will have you hum­ming for weeks. Awk­ward as they are, the film lets the kids be the he­roes they be­lieve they can be.

Car­ney keeps a bass note of melan­choly run­ning through­out, with Conor’s fam­ily all in var­i­ous states of res­ig­na­tion to or­di­nar­i­ness, and the Dublin sur­round­ings as cracked and faded as last night’s make-up, but it’s the hope and warmth that ring out. OLLY RICHARDS

Just as with Once and Be­gin Again, Sing Street will make you laugh and cry, and leave you men­tally re­play­ing its songs long af­ter the cred­its roll.

Du­ran Du­ran and Span­dau had cause for con­cern.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.