Preview by: Jack Foley
THEYVE already delighted us the likes of This Is Spinal
Tap and Best in Show, so now the hilariously talented team behind
those comic gems have returned with A Mighty Wind, which will
be showing at the London
Film Festival on November 3.
Described as a film which does for folk what This is Spinal Tap
did for heavy metal, A Mighty Wind begins with the death of folk
music colossus, Irving Steinbloom, an event which provokes his
son, Jonathan, to seek out some of his fathers favourite
artists and hold a memorial concert in his honour. So, for one
night only, the crowd at New Yorks City Hall are promised
three of folks finest forgotten acts.
Theres The Folksmen, whose records sounded great in the
60s, if you managed to punch the hole the record company forgot
to put in the middle of them; The New Main Street Singers, a colourful
new generation troupe with an ambitious (if deluded) manager,
peddling their slick sounds at amusement parks and on cruises;
and Mitch and Mickey, a duo whose songs epitomised young love
for a generation of folkies, but whose tragic story has involved
a marriage break-up, a mental breakdown and some disturbing solo
The London Film Festival website states: Another terrifically
observed comedy from the creators of Waiting for Guffman and Best
in Show, its almost a disappointment that these bands are
not the real thing they purport to be on screen.
The screening on 3 November will be subtitled and audio described
for people with sensory impairments and it will be followed by
a masterclass with Christopher Guest, the actor, writer and director.
The film has already opened in America, to positive acclaim,
and is due for a UK release in January next year - a date which
prompted one of its stars, Eugene Levy, to refer to it more as
more of a small burp, by the time it arrives. He had
been talking at the London press conference for American
Pie: The Wedding.
Critics in America have already hailed the latest piece of work
from Guest and co as a great comedy which, while not as out and
out funny as some previous efforts, is also a little more heartfelt.
Leading the way is Rolling Stone, which wrote that the
sheer exuberance of A Mighty Wind, directed with mirth and mischief
by Christopher Guest, who devised the story with Eugene Levy and
let the cast improv the rest, had me begging for more.
The New York Times, meanwhile, stated that it almost
makes you believe that Mitch and Mickey were real, which is an
impressive stunt. More than that, it makes you almost wish that
they were, which is something of a miracle.
While Variety felt that while the mockumentary formula
is showing signs of strain, the gifted repertory company again
creates an amusing gallery of incisively observed characters,
riffing off each other with enjoyment levels that frequently prove
Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, opined that while
it doesn't quite reach the blissfully inspired heights of Best
in Show or Waiting for Guffman, Christopher Guest's latest nevertheless
makes a worthy addition to his canon of brilliantly improvised
The Detroit News, still on a positive note, wrote that
while Guest never forgets to laugh, he never forgets to
love either, embracing the very subject he is simultaneously throttling,
while the New York Post declared that in this hilarious,
pitch-perfect comedy, Guest and his longtime collaborator, co-writer
and star Eugene Levy, have the quaint, golly-gee enthusiasm of
folkies and their music in the cross-hairs.
The Globe and Mail wrote that the character actors
are all superb, deftly weaving back and forth over the line between
sympathetic human characters and eccentric caricatures, so laughter
and sympathy are indistinguishable.
While Entertainment Weekly concludes this round-up by
stating that it is a movie that re-creates its object of
satire with such pitch-perfect flair that it all but erases the
line between derision and love.