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Good Vibrations - Film Review

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Published November 11th 2013
Revolution Films/Canderblinks Film and Music Ltd

Good Vibrations, a biography of Terri Hooley - Ireland's Godfather of Punk - has been described by outspoken film critic, Mark Kermode, as "[one of his] favourite films of the year" and it's easy to see why it's got heart, soul and a great soundtrack.

Like the acclaimed music biography 24 Hour Party People, which recounted the life of music mogul Tony Wilson and his great influence on the "Madchester" scene of the 1980s and 1990s, Good Vibrations depicts the life of the maverick Hooley, who became the founder of the iconic 'Good Vibrations' record shop and label, which helped shaped Belfast's underground punk-rock scene in the 1970s.

Revolution Films/Canderblinks Film and Music Ltd

The film is set against the then escalating bloody conflict of the The Troubles.

Hooley, a former pub DJ and a life-long music fan, opens an independent record shop, 'Good Vibrations', which defiantly sits on the most bombed half-mile in Europe.

One night he attends a life-changing gig by local punk act Rudi and decides to start his own record label. Hooley would then go on to champion The Outcasts, and most significantly, The Undertones, who remain 'the most successful band to have emerged from Derry' ['Teenage Kicks: The story of The Undertones': BBC NEWS].

Revolution Films/Canderblinks Film and Music Ltd

Importantly, within the film, we see how that without Hooley, the late John Peel may never have heard what became his all-time favourite song - "Teenage Kicks", the debut single by The Undertones.

However Hooley's many accomplishments were marked by professional and personal failings, from bad business deals to a crumbling marriage. But Hooley remains an endearing character for the audience, thanks to Richard Dormer glinty-eyed performance. Jodie Whittaker is also commendable as Ruth, Hooley's long suffering wife.

Revolution Films/Canderblinks Film and Music Ltd

If you are a fan of music biopics, such as Control and Velvet Goldmine, Good Vibrations is a must see; it is a vibrant and energetic portrait of a true underdog, who unwittingly provided a sense of community and hope to a disillusioned generation.

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