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Northern Soul

Directed by Elaine Constantine

UK, 2014

Cornerhouse, 18 October 2014

Northern Soul

An entertaining film, set like Shimmy Marcus’ SoulBoy (2010) in the ‘70s Northern Soul scene.  Supercool grooves, killer dance moves, baggy trousers and all.

There’s this bright lad, name of John (Elliot James Langridge), whose life is going nowhere.  He’s introverted, antisocial, unhappy.  Has a humdrum existence.  Then he discovers Northern Soul and the world begins to make sense to him.

What the film has going for it is, well, the music, of course.  Strong period detail and a clear sense of how dull yet violent those days could be.  Fine performances, not least from Antonia Thomas as Angela, a nurse that John takes a fancy to.  (While watching her: a memory of first touching a black girl’s Afro.)  Jack Gordon as Sean, a king of the scene/drug dealer type, was impressive – much better than the character as written deserved.  And Steve Coogan was also out and about, doing a turn as a typical ‘70s teacher, obnoxious and not averse, naturally, to using corporal punishment on occasion.

As for the story, it is in truth a bit predictable and doesn’t stray too far from the feel-good track.  It lacks any sustained sense of jeopardy.

Still, an entertaining film and it got me listening to Dexys Midnight Runners’ first album again – not a bad thing.