Film review: Good Vibrations (15)

 

Seventies Belfast lacked folk heroes, but this drama argues for one in the unlikely character of Terri Hooley, one-eyed owner of the Good Vibrations record shop on Great Victoria Street, "the most bombed half-mile in Europe".

As played by Richard Dormer, Terri is a force of nature, a music nut whose passion overrode the sectarianism of the times and put Northern Irish punk on the map. Without his petitioning of John Peel at the BBC, the world might never have got to hear The Undertones.

That sense of Belfast as a frustrated outpost – quite apart from being a war zone – comes over keenly in a smart script by Colin Carberry and Glenn Patterson. When Terri's friend tells him he has to go to London, Terri replies, "Don't take it hard. You're still special."

The film perhaps misses an equally strong personality – Jodie Whittaker plays his wife, Ruth, as the definition of long-suffering – and some of the 1970s wigs are atrocious (Adrian Dunbar's seems to have landed on his head from a great height).

Hooley's flaws aren't soft-pedalled, and his fecklessness with money probably drove his family mad – even when his record label packs out the Ulster Hall in 1980, he still makes a loss – and yet it seems of a piece with his single-minded aim to create an "alternative Ulster".

As his old-school socialist dad reminds him, "If they can't buy you, they can't own you." It's a heartwarming tale, driven along by a great, raucous medley of punk, rock and reggae.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in