Telstar

three and a half stars out of five Wasn’t sure whether this would be a Hit or a Miss, pop-pickers. Some of the people involved in it made me wary initially, as well as a certain sense that the 60s (like the WWII years) has pretty much been milked for all it’s worth.

However, it turned out to be a very engaging film with some sterling performances –  a fierce Con O’Neill & the remarkable JJ Feild stood out in particular. Lots of “ooh, that’s so & so..” moments for the many cameo roles, which also include many of the surviving original protagonists (check out the “Inside Look” bonus feature). Carl Barat made a satisfying Gene Vincent but Justin Hawkins didn’t really deliver on Screaming Lord Sutch’s vocals.

The pleasing cinematography succeeds in recreating the period feel, avoiding “swinging London” cliches & helping to build the claustrophobic tension that matches Meek’s own mood. Colours often tend to warm, yellowy overtones, giving a nod to vintage footage; contrasted with use of colder, greyer tones to reflect Meek’s mental decline.

There’s such a lot of story packed into this film that it probably helps to know at least some background on who’s who & where they figure in the development of 60s music. Perhaps Meek’s technical innovation & legacy isn’t given sufficient prominence – the focus here is definitely squarely on the man & his personality is big enough on its own to fill the screen for a couple of hours.

What did drive me mad (sorry, bit tasteless in this context, I guess) was the dismal sound quality – was it just my copy? – for large chunks of the film the sound was way too echoey. Whilst this worked fine for the musical sections, rounding out the Meek sound, it actually drowned out swathes of dialogue, which was a shame as the screenplay was well-written & frequently witty.

Meek, but definitely not mild.

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