You Instead

You Instead


Reviewed by: Susanna Krawczyk

You Instead was, astonishingly, shot in its entirety over five and a half days at T in the Park, a music festival held annually in Balado, Kinross. It really shows, but in a good way.

The film follows the story of new arrivals to the festival Adam (Luke Treadaway), frontman of electro duo The Make and Morello (Natalia Tena), lead singer of punk girl group The Dirty Pinks. Caught squabbling over Adam's guitar and Morello's grandad's jacket they are handcuffed together by a passing preacher who insists that musicians are going to change the world someday before scooting off on a golf cart with the key. What follows is a fairly light and fanciful story about two beautiful people falling in love in beautiful surroundings to a beautiful soundtrack.

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Natalia Tena and Luke Treadaway help this along by having excellent chemistry and by giving their characters the needed spark of personality. Adam has made the mistake of dating model Lake (Ruta Gedmintas) simply because that's what rock stars do, and Morello is stuck with her not-much-fun banker boyfriend Mark (Alastair Mackenzie). Supporting cast members Gedmintas and Mackenzie work hard at being the foils to the fated romance. Alongside are Mat Baynton as Adam's bandmate Tyko, whose performance I can only describe as adorable, and Gavin Mitchell as an angry American manager who manages to be both hilarious and deeply tragic.

What follows is an intoxicating mix of stage performances, acting performances, passers-by doing cool things, passers-by doing drunk things, seemingly-improvised slapstick comedy and the whirling lights of the on-site fairground. When we get to see Morello's and Adam's bands perform both leads do a pretty credible job, which is not surprising given that they each wrote the songs they performed, and Natalia Tena is in fact in a band called Molotov Jukebox. Were they real bands I would certainly listen to them, and frankly I'm hoping that a soundtrack release is in the pipeline.

I have to say, it's nice to see a film as unashamedly cool as this being set in Scotland. Sad in a way that none of the main characters, barring the supporting members of The Dirty Pinks, are themselves Scottish, but it's true that T in the Park attracts acts and performers from all over the world. Still most of the extras have familiar accents, and you can't beat the traditional use of Irn Bru as a hangover cure. Festival goers have long known that T is one of the coolest places to be every summer, and now film-going audiences can get a peek at the action.

It's a pretty old-fashioned way to ensure conflict, having the protagonists physically attached to one another, but it mostly works here. We learn so little about Morello and Adam that it's necessary to have them in an extreme situation in order for us to know them at all. The festival location works like a charm to inject instant excitement and magic into the story, and as a conceit keeps the story going. The manic energy of the shooting schedule shows through, with naturalistic performances and genuinely tired-looking protagonists, just as they would look if they had been out all night partying at Scotland's biggest music festival.

Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2011
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You Instead packshot
An indie singer and the star of a big US rock band are accidentally handcuffed together at the T In The Park music festival outside Glasgow, leading to frustration, conflict and, gradually, romance.
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Director: David Mackenzie

Writer: Thomas Leveritt

Starring: Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Kari Corbett, Sophie Wu, Gavin Mitchell

Year: 2011

Runtime: 90 minutes

Country: UK


Glasgow 2011

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