The much-anticipated screen version of Kieran Hurley’s award-winning play is a gallus, bittersweet coming-of-age rollercoaster: imagine Fellini’s I Vitelloni set to a throbbing techno beat.
It is 1994 and new legislation effectively outlaws raves or ‘public gatherings around amplified music characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats’. The party is well and truly over but not before mild-mannered teenager Johnno (Cristian Ortega) is encouraged to join his best mate Spanner (Lorn Macdonald) for one last big night out at an illegal rave.
Filmed in black and white, with Steven Soderbergh as executive producer, Beats finds real poignancy in the bond between these two innocents as they enter a wonderland of rebellion and romance. A heady solidarity is forged in the sweaty bodies, casual encounters and carefree exuberance of youth gathered in the pursuit of a good time. A wildly entertaining end of an era party that brings a lump to the throat.