Swing (15)

Directed by Nick Mead
Starring Hugo Speer, Lisa Stansfield, Alexei Sayle, Tom Bell

A British film in the style of Brassed Off with a little of The Commitments about it too, and featuring one of the stars of The Full Monty, this amiable comedy lacks the political undercurrent of two of those films, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.

Speer plays Liverpuddlian Martin, a good natured petty criminal with his heart in the right place. After learning the saxaphone in prison, he is released with the intention of starting his own swing band. Trying to gather fellow musicians is the first task, and the predictable band of misfits includes an aspiring footballer, a National Front drummer and a brass section of Orangemen who Martin barters with his uncle for. To complete the band, Martin seeks out his ex girlfriend Joan(Stansfield), now married to the policeman who arrested him! Of course, there is still a spark between them and the romance is a nice little subplot in the film.

The band go through the "it'll never work" stage, before triumphing as we always knew they would and is good natured and amusing. Personally I got a bit fed up with the preachiness of Brassed Off, and the characters that we were almost forced to find lovable in The Full Monty. This film does not have that much depth to it, and has some failings, but generally was a lot of fun.

One of the more pleasant surprises is Lisa Stansfield, an established soul singer and one of the best. Pop stars trying to act is usually a big mistake, especially with accents! But Stansfield's natural Rochdale accent doesn't intrude on her pretty flawless scouse. Even better, she shows herself to be a good actress. Her singing voice must have been in incentive to the producers, although occasionally she veers into her own style of singing rather that the swing stuff. Speer is very likable and veteran character actors Tom Bell and Nerys Hughes add to the fun. The one poor aspect of the film is Joan's husband the policeman. He is a weakly stereotyped character who acts like a cartoon copper, doing things poilce officers would not be allowed to do at all. He is very unconvincing, and it is equally unbelievable that Joan would have married him. Similarly, I was not a fan of the daft National Front guy who of course, turns out to be not so bad.

Writer/director Nick Mead has done a good job on the whole and produced an amiable feelgood movie, but not an especially memorable one. Just a little predictable and unconvincing, but a pleasantly diverting film. 6/10

May 1999

Back to Movies page
Back to main page