Saturday, October 01, 2011

Killing Bono film review

Killing Bono is a film about fame. Specifically, U2 band fame. It is a movie adaptation of Neil McCormick’s Killing Bono: I Was Bono’s Doppelganger, a book which seeks to paint parallels between his life and that of U2’s Bono.

Both boys attend the same school. Both boys form a band. Everything one band touches turns to gold, as they become the world’s biggest band. Everything the other band touches, turns to failure, lost in the Irish hills as U2 play Croke Park in Ireland.

The film bears little resemblance to the real book ie real life. Or so the author, McCormack would have us believe

each rewrite it became more detached from my life as I remembered it. Characters were compressed. New characters invented. Incidents exaggerated. The story started to take on a logic of its own. By the 14th draft, they had me running around Dublin with a gun, hunting down my old friend.

Cinematically, the movie struggles. It is hard to find much empathy for the main character (Ben Barnes as Neil McCormack), so driven is he by his preoccupation with fame. Which makes the entire project somewhat ironic. Who would buy the book or care about the film without the famous word “Bono” in the title?

Which does, in turn, provide some theological interest. The film is essentially an anti-film, a celebration of failure, of the inability of a person with obvious musical talent to pursue their dreams. In a world awash with celebrity, McCormick finds fame (in the book and through the film), through telling the story of his inability to find fame.

There are some moments of humour. Most rely on band jokes – references to Bono’s height, or recognition of band posters. In sum, while the film Killing Bono might be of interest to U2 fans (of whom there are many), it struggles to rise beyond being a band film, a poor attempt to cash in on the fame of another.

(NB the film includes nudity, violence and drug use).

Posted by steve at 03:34 PM

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