When I saw that Spike Island was being shown on BBC2 last night I was initially very pleased. It was a film I’d been meaning to watch for some time. The Stone Roses were, and still are, a massive part of my music ascension. The first iconic album is one of the greatest ever made and I never bore of spinning the vinyl. So when someone makes a film about the legendary(yet actually quite poor) Spike Island gig in 1990 it’s going to get my attention in a big way. Sadly the film did not meet with my expectations.
The overall plot centres on five young Manchester teenagers who are desperate to gain access to what they consider to be the defining concert of their generation. In a band of their own, Shadowcaster, the lads find themselves on something of a road trip when their tickets for the gig fail to materialise.
So, where did it all go wrong?
First of all I’ll clear up the lead singer’s nickname, his surname being Tittensor he is given this amusing moniker. He says it’s not the best but he’s made the most of it!
There’s nobody starring as a member of the five lads that instantly jumps off the screen as being particularly likeable, you must have at least one with some sort of appeal but they lack any real character and thus you don’t really care for them much. Game of thrones’ Emilia Clark pops up as the love interest that comes between front man Tits (Elliott Tittensor) and Dodge (Nico Mirallegro) but she fails to make any real impression as the films Sally Cinnamon. This is something she seems to fall victim to with her non GoT appearances all too often. There’s some fleeting support from Lesley Manvile and Steve Evets as Tits’ parents dealing with a serious terminal illness to his Father.
Where the film really fell down for me was the overall feeling. I was 18 at the time the movie is set and I look back this time with very fond memories. Spike Island totally failed to encapsulate this atmosphere within its boundaries. Naturally the soundtrack is very strong but you would have to have been a complete idiot to get that wrong here. Everyone involved fails to give the film the feel of the period in anything like the way This is England did and TIE’s centre piece of its story wasn’t the Stone Roses. Maybe the makers were hoping for something along the lines of 24 Hour Party People but it just doesn’t get close.
On the whole, I think that if Coldplay hadn’t been involved then this film would have fallen under the radar and to then dedicate it to the Stone Roses themselves is a little insulting.