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Greetings From Tim Buckley

Dir/scr: Daniel Algrant. US. 2013. 100mins

A brittle, intriguing and at times ungainly attempt to blend drama and docu-drama, this dramatised story about the background to a tribute concert in New York in 1991 for musician Tim Buckley is bursting with fascinating elements, strong and complex characters, but somehow never quite finds the right balance to convince as a dramatic piece.

Poots is terrific in a poorly developed role, and while gently charismatic, Allie feels rather like a plot device rather than a real characte.

Greetings From Tim Buckley, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, stars Gossip Girl star Penn Badgley as the late Tim’s son Jeff Buckley, who agrees to come and perform at a music tribute show to be held at St Ann’s church in Brooklyn. Jeff barely knows his father, who left when he was a small child and died young from a drug overdose and finds it hard to get involved in the tribute for a man he feels little affinity to.

Jeff Buckley is an intense soul – often peeking meaningfully out from underneath his mop of black hair, initially unwilling to give in to the adoration other performers and musicians who knew his father, but gradually and slowly won over by listening to tracks, watching a video of his father talking and hanging out with Allie (British actress Imogen Poots) who is working for the show.

Poots is terrific in a poorly developed role, and while gently charismatic, Allie feels rather like a plot device rather than a real character, and quite how she puts up with the rather annoying and self-centred (read arty one supposes) Jeff is hard to fathom.

They seem to manage to carve out plenty of time to chat, travel and meander the city in the run-up to this supposedly intense and pressured show. The climactic show itself is smarty staged and rather enjoyable and a fitting tribute to Tim Buckley’s music. His songs – and the flashbacks to 1966 when Jeff was young and Tim was playing the field – are the heartbeat of the film, and Ben Rosenfeld is excellent as the driven and talented Tim.

Production companies: From A to Z Productions, Smuggler Films

Producers: Patrick Milling Smith, John Hart, Frederick Zollo, Amy Nauiokas

Executive producers: Ben Limberg, Brian Carmody, Jill Footlick, Colin Corgan, Jill Furman

Cinematography: Andrij Parekh

Editor: Bill Pankow

Production designer: John Paino

Main cast: Penn Badgley, Imogen Poots, William Sadler, Norbert Leo Butz, Ben Rosenfeld, Isabelle McNally, Kate Nash

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