Dir/scr: Michael Dowse.Can-UK. 2004. 90mins
Canadian writer-directorMichael Dowse first came to attention with the quirky heavy metal comedy Fubar(2002), but with It's All Gone Pete Tong (rhyming slang for "it's allgone wrong") he turns his sights on DJ producer-performers.
The result is a tuneful,spirited rag tag of a movie with an obvious if limited niche appeal among hipcrowds. In the UK, production company Vertigo will partner with distributorRedbus for a 300-screen release in April, with marketing tie-ins from TDK, RedBull and EMI. In the US, new, youth-oriented distributor, Mad Son Films hasrights.
In many respects the film isan apt embodiment of the strengths and weaknesses of some of the current cropof Canadian-directed films. The industry has developed first class techniciansand performers, adroit film-makers but falls short in the story department withyarns that just eke by on character weaving through myriad narrative lapses.
Focused on remix DJproducer-performers, the feature begins as a mockumentary - in structure andtone reminiscent of This Is Spinal Tap - about Frankie Wilde (PaulKaye), the current cutting edge practitioner on the scene. Real-life performersand remix artists play into the joke (including the titular Pete Tong), citinghis mastery and dropping hints of an extreme lifestyle that foreshadows theinevitable True Hollywood rise and fall arc.
Frankie is a self-absorbed,hard living sort who's found a comfortable berth in the industry and a haven onIbiza that's harboured free spirits for decades.
Dowse displays a keen sensefor the milieu and an apparent affection for its denizens. However, he cannotsustain his movie on anecdote and observation and expends its considerablemomentum and pulse after about half an hour.
After that it becomesapparent that the drinking and drugs have had their toll on Frankie and thatyears of exposure to high decibel sounds are making him go deaf. When the goodtimes finally seize up, his wife packs up their child and heads for a more opportunelocale.
Dowse tries to revive thestory with Frankie's climb after hitting rock bottom. However, thesentimentality and proselytising for the handicapped he injects jar badly withthe previously established tone.
The film fails to establishmuch sympathy for Frankie despite Paul Kaye's immersion into the character andits difficult to sort out his genius, indulgence and destructive traits,leading to an ultimately soft and discordant feature.
Instead, It's All GonePeter Tong is most effective when sending up the music world and sports awonderfully full bodied performance from Mike Wilmot as a mercenary, moneyedexploiter.
Prod cos: Vertigo Films, True West Films
UK dist: Redbus
Int'l sales: HanWay Films
Exec prods: Rob Morgan, RupertPreston, Kim Roberts
Prods: Elizabeth Yake, AllanNiblo, James Richardson
Cine: Balazs Bolygo
Ed: Stuart Gazzard
Music: Graham Massey
Main cast: Paul Kaye, BeatrizBatarda, Kate Magowan, Mike Wilmot