Reviewed by: Trinity

It's 11.07 in the warehouse district of San Francisco. A group of figures huddle around a map, planning out the night's job. At 6.04pm they reconvene to put on the ultimate rave. As the news spreads like wildfire via mobile phone and email lists, Harmony, her boyfriend Colin and his straight-laced brother David go along to spring a surprise. Also making the journey are a whole set of characters, including the campest gay couple in the world (TM) and Layla, a girl who's never been quite settled unless she's clubbing.

The relationships between the characters are tested by a night which unites everyone with a common desire to belong and feel connected.

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Editor-turned-director Greg Harrison's debut feature tries to explore the ambiguous morality surrounding the relationships and drug use in the rave subculture. Groove accurately captures the spirit of the underground scene from the frenetic, adrenalin pumping opening titles and character set-up to the mellow, laid back end. The film uses real DJs, including the UK's very own John Digweed, and appears to have done its homework thereby avoiding becoming a Hackers for the dance generation.

In essence Groove is just a multi-relationship story set against a clubbing background, and as such it'll be compared with Human Traffic and Go. What sets it apart from these films, is its lack of fantasy sequences.

Unfortunately, this means it misses some of the vitality and inventiveness of the other two films. It doesn't miss out on the humour though and consistently comes up with the laughs. In fact the funniest moment comes, unintentionally, from Digweed as he shows us why he's never normally seen on camera.

The characters are a joy. Although many are caricatures which have been seen before, they've been invested with a new life of their own. Even the camp couple bickering as they drive around searching for the party are funny, where they could easily have been tiresome. None of the actors are household names, which works in their and the film's favour.

Groove doesn't pass judgement on the drugs issue. Instead, it shows that people can have fun, become ill, fall in love and discover themeselves. As such, it's an immensely likeable and enjoyable film, which only suffers slightly from its basic story. It deserves "the nod".

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Groove packshot
Relationships are formed and broken at a San Francisco rave.
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Director: Greg Harrison

Writer: Greg Harrison

Starring: Lola Glaudini, Hamish Linklater, Denny Kirkwood, Steve Van Wormer, Rachel True, Mackenzie Firgens, Vincent Riverside, Ari Gold, Angelo Spizzirri, John Digweed

Year: 1999

Runtime: 83 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: USA


EIFF 2000

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If you like this, try:

24 Hour Party People
Human Traffic