movie film review | chris tookey


© Unknown - all rights reserved
  Telstar Review
Tookey's Rating
5 /10
Average Rating
5.40 /10
Con O'Neill, Pam Ferris, JJ Feild (pictured
Full Cast >

Directed by: Nick Moran
Written by: James Hicks, based on his own play

Released: 2008
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: UK
Length: 114

Meek but not mild.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

Bookmark and Share

Actor Nick Moran turns his hand to directing and comes up with a shambolic but entertaining biopic of Joe Meek, the tone-deaf, Satan-worshipping, pill-popping, gay-cottaging and eventually murderous loony who produced the Tornadoes’ Telstar and other hits including Heinz’s Just Like Eddie and the Honeycombs’ infuriatingly catchy Have I The Right.

Con O’Neill impersonates Meek with terrific brio, but the script never allows us inside the great man’s head, and rambles for nearly two hours without much sense of direction. Meek starts out mad, and just gets madder.

Despite some energetic performances, too much of it seems like a messy fringe play that has been insufficiently opened out. The tone of James Hicks’ screenplay hits the right tone of playfulness early on but loses its way when the mood darkens.

Moran lacks the skill to achieve the transition he’s trying for, from Dick Lester-style fun to the nightmarish intensity Polanski achieved in Repulsion. Moran does manage this in one scene, when bailiffs tear off the sound-proofing material that Meek has nailed over the windows, and the agonised record-producer writhes and screams like a vampire exposed to light. It’s a frustrating glimpse of how the rest of the movie might have been, executed with greater expressionistic flair.

Still, there’s plenty of period atmosphere, and an infectious enthusiasm for seat-of-the-pants pop recording during the not so swinging part of the Sixties – the unfashionable, pre-Beatles bit.

Like Meek’s music, it’s not much good and definitely not sophisticated, but I enjoyed it.

Key to Symbols