- Director:David Mackenzie
- Cast:Natalia Tena, Luke Treadaway, Sophie Wu
- Release Date:July 12, 2012
- Running time:80 minutes
- Film Worth:$12.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Its storyline is as conventional as they come, but the irresistible music festival setting helps transcend some of the schmaltz.
Morello (Natalia Tena) and Adam (Luke Treadaway) are two rock stars who, while set to play at the same music festival, wind up handcuffed together. You can pretty much guess what happens just from reading the synopsis; You Instead is pure romantic comedy formula, with two opposites who normally wouldn't be in the same room together finding common ground: she is a free-spirited punk rocker, he is a womanising, brooding "tortured artist" type who bears a slight resemblance to Coldplay's Chris Martin.
Despite the familiarity, director David Mackenzie (Young Adam) manages to make things work, largely due to the unconventional setting: shot during the T in The Park Music Festival in Scotland over five days, the movie gives audiences a full backstage pass to all the goings on at the festival. By using handheld camera work and a gritty aesthetic, Mackenzie throws you right in the middle of all the fun.
Tena and Treadaway's chemistry is good enough to keep the film watchable, and both are convincing as superstars (it also helps that they're virtually unknown); there are the obligatory "meet cute" moments - including a winning bit where they both improvise the overplayed ‘80s hit "Tainted Love" while onstage - only this time they're played out amidst drunken partygoers, binge drinking, foul-smelling port-a-potties and mud fights.
There's the expected romantic complications to keep the lovers temporarily apart, dumber than usual for this type of thing. And, in spite of its grungy look, the film ultimately is as sweet and sappy as any romcom.
As expected, the concert footage is arguably the best part of the film, with performances from artists such as British DJ Carl Cox, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, and singer-songwriter Newton Faulkner, who gets probably the best line in the entire movie. Even soul music legend Al Green pops up in an oddball role as a mystery man preaching love and unity, and who sets the entire plot in motion.
This is pretty standard stuff for romantic comedy fans, but the music is so involving, it would have been even better if Mackenzie had ditched his formula plot and made a behind-the-scenes documentary highlighting T in The Park, a low-profile festival which, judging from this footage, deserves a lot more exposure.