Jul 21, 2014

Spike Island: Manchester Boys Bond at a Rock Concert

It seems that every year in the U.S., we see yet another movie about a group of high school friends facing the prospect of Growing Up: a heterosexist myth in which one abandons the exuberant buddy-bonding of high school for heterosexual romance, careers, houses, kids, and domesticity.

Usually it's set at an iconic moment in the filmmakers' life.

The British have their own versions, most recently Spike Island (2013), set during the heyday of The Stone Roses.  Yeah, I never heard of them either, but apparently they gave a famous "final concert" in May 1990 on Spike Island in Cheshire, and five working-class Manchester lads are desperate to go.

Not just for the music; they have their own band, so they have to get to the concert to give their demo tape to Ian Brown.  It's their only chance of escaping from their dismal working-class, married-with-children futures.

But they have no tickets, no money, and the concert's sold out. So they steal a florist's van and head out on the highway.

The main couple are Tits (Elliott Tittensor) and Dodge (Nico Mirallegro), who dread the upcoming end of their long-term friendship while competing over the same girl.

There's a lot more soap opera crammed into the weekend.  A dying father; an abusive father; a confrontation between brothers; a boy who doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps; etc., etc.  The characters are broadly-drawn cliches that we've seen a thousand times before: the jock, the nerd, the ineffective girl-chaser, the kid brother.

But there's also a lot of gay connection.  Both Tittensor and Mirallegro have played gay characters before, and they add a nice gay subtext.  Plus there's a lot of physicality in the boys' relationship, hugging, holding, hanging over each other.

And some semi-nudity.  Recommended.

See also: I Wanna Hold Your Hand