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You Instead - Review

You Instead

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2.5 out of 5

DAVID Mackenzie’s You Instead is notable for having been shot entirely on location during the 2010 T in The Park music festival. But much like the festival experience it depicts, it’s a curious mix of musical highs and messy lows.

Luke Treadaway and Natalia Tena play two rival musicians, Adam and Morello, who find themselves handcuffed to each other for most of the weekend after their constant bickering winds up one of the festival’s security guards.

Almost inevitably, mutual hatred turns to respect and even love as the two opposites attract and discover new things about each other and their music.

Mackenzie, who previously directed the likes of Young Adam and Spread, succeeds in capturing the muddy, crowded, sweaty spirit of a music festival and delivers one or two genuinely crowd-pleasing set pieces.

But everyone is let down by a tepid screenplay that opts to spend time with one too many obnoxious supporting characters (Adam’s manager, for instance) as well as relying on contrivance and cliché.

The initial plot device of having Adam and Morello cuffed together is tenuous, to say the least, but so too are the various manipulations designed to keep them together.

And while both actors clearly enjoy being in each other’s company, they’re often ill-served by the script which follows all the usual plot-beats for the romantic comedy type of thing.

That said, both Treadaway and Tena deliver during the film’s music moments, with a mash-up of a Morello track and Tainted Love successfully delivering the type of high you expect and need from the genre, as well as a couple of nice intimate moments together that do enable them to flesh out their characters beyond the one dimensional.

Various cameos from the musicians who played the festival that year, including – most notably – Newton Faulkner, further add to the fun, while Mackenzie captures the essence and mayhem of being at a festival with all its muddy excess and unsavoury odours.

It’s just a shame that while his film looks and feels authentic from the music point of view, so many of his characters and their stories feel contrived and annoying… rather like bad cover versions of film characters and journeys you’ve seen one too many times before.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 80mins
UK Release Date: September 16, 2011