Film review: Hunky Dory

Last updated 08:04 10/12/2012
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SUMMER OF 76: Equal parts music, Glee and Welsh hormones.

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Hunky Dory (R13)(110 min)

Directed by Marc Evans.

Starring Minnie Driver, Aneurin Barnard.

As everyone knows, David Bowie died in a small plane crash while returning from a consultation with his hair guru high in the Hindu Kush late in 1983.

It was only a few months after Let's Dance was released. In the years since, Bowie has been played by a succession of impersonators.

They can all sing and act a bit, but not one of them can write a song that anyone can remember.

Which is a shame, because between 1969 and 1983 David Bowie had put out 14 stunning albums. Of which Hunky Dory might just be my favourite. 

The album's now lent its title to a film, allegedly based on real events, that unfolded in a tough comprehensive school in Wales during the sweltering summer of 1976.

New teacher Minnie Driver is ablaze with purpose, convinced that if she can get her surly and hormonal young charges 'in touch with their feelings', then they have a puncher's chance at transcending the rigidly proscriptive class system that even then could condemn a bright kid to life-time of drudge.

She wants to accomplish this with a rock opera version of The Tempest, featuring the popular songs of the day. (The Sex Pistols' sound apparently hadn't yet reached the valleys, more's the pity.)

The first Bowie cover takes an hour to turn up, and it's not even off Hunky Dory, but that small quibble aside, the film is a goodly amount of fun.

Driver pushes the action along nicely. While the kids are all winningly played, with a few sure to turn up on screen again soon.

Think a very slightly grittier Glee, but with better music, and lapels by the acre, and you'll be not far off.

Personally, I liked it. 

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- © Fairfax NZ News


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