Beats

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I can’t say I’m familiar with the rave scene at all really, which forms a pretty important backdrop of Beats, but it was interesting to watch how it plays out nonetheless. Set in 1994, it largely follows two friends, Johnno (Cristian Ortega) and Spanner (Lorn Macdonald), as they eventually plan to attend an illegal rave in the midst of a UK culture war (especially referred to per archive footage of Tony Blair in the background!). Now it’s mostly got a black-and-white aesthetic, and this definitely helps achieve a low-budget, historical feel, but the key strength of this film is as it proceeds, things get more and more energetic. Spanner’s a bit of a troublemaker, in contrast to the more understated Johnno, and as they get to the rave, there’s a bit of avant-garde filmmaking going on. This really helps capture a feel of the characters’ dislocation, as well as the background, so full marks to the director (Brian Welsh) and cast especially, top marks all round! See it if you can!

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