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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents
It's All Gone Pete Tong (2004)

"Maybe I should write a book. That might take years though, perhaps a pamphlet or brochure."
- Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga  
Published: September 21, 2005

Stars: Paul Kaye, Beatriz Batarda
Other Stars: Kate Magowan, Mike Wilmot
Director: Michael Dowse

MPAA Rating: R for (pervasive drug and alcohol abuse, language, some sexual content/nudity)
Run Time: 01h:32m:08s
Release Date: September 20, 2005
UPC: 043396119673
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- A-A-A B-

DVD Review

The "mockumentary" is a rather small subgenre, but what it lacks in quantity, it sure makes up for as far as quality. This breed of film has enjoyed a bit of a renaissance in recent years, thanks to the genius of writer/director Christopher Guest (Waiting For Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind), who also played a large part in the quintessential mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap. As with the recent 24-Hour Party People and this film, It's All Gone Pete Tong, most of these projects involve music in one way or another, focusing on a specific group, artist, or behind-the-scenes music revolutionary. This film was a huge critical success during its run on the festival circuit. However, it was only released to a handful of theaters and never got the audience that it deserved.

It's All Gone Pete Tong takes a look at fictional musician DJ Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye). This wild man knows little other than loud music and all-night parties, and both of these vices eventually catch up with him. He is rapidly going deaf, either as a result of the constant pressure on his eardrums, his avid drug use, or both. His inability to hear well dramatically effects his recording skills, and his career is soon ruined. His trophy wife and son (who, given his race, obviously isn't Frankie's) have left him, and his American manager, Max (Mike Wilmot), has all but lost faith in his musical abilities.

Now completely down-and-out, Frankie finds a potential savior in a speech therapist named Penelope (Beatriz Batarda). She is not only an inspiration to the now completely deaf musician (she's deaf herself), but she also turns out to be everything he ever needed romantically as well. Sure, he was married before, but Penelope makes Frankie realize that he's never truly been loved or in love until he met her.

It's All Gone Pete Tong is actually quite different from the aforementioned films in the subgenre. While it isn't much of a surprise that there really isn't a DJ Frankie Wilde, there are very few scenes using interview footage from people who seem to have some sort of a connection to this troubled genius. Instead, the film plays out almost entirely like a standard, slickly shot dark comedy. There are many brilliant sequences, including a beautiful love scene between Frankie and Penelope that is buoyed solely by a series of muted bass levels, giving the audience a feel for how these two deaf people are experiencing this magical moment.

All of the actors do a fine job, but Paul Kaye is the real star of the show. Kaye makes Frankie equally appealing and loathsome during the various stages of his destruction and resurrection, never crossing the line into incredulity. This British comedian doesn't settle for slapstick behavior or cheap laughs, instead carrying genuine facial expressions and mannerisms for a given situation, making Frankie always seem as genuine as possible.

The film even has the presence of a rodent/bear creature that Frankie sees while he's hallucinating during his descent into madness. While not as creepy or integral to the plot as Frank the Bunny is to Donnie Darko, the creature's grotesque, haunting appearance has a similar effect on the audience. This is only one of writer/director Michael Dowse's surreal touches, as he clearly attempts to craft his own unique version of the mockumentary. For the most part, he pulls it off, as the film is genuinely entertaining, engaging us in Frankie's story. While much of this riches-to-rags tale is clichéd, the way in which it is told is distinct enough to set it apart from the throwaway films that litter theaters these days.

The Beta Band graces us with their awesome presence on the soundtrack. This (unfortunately) now-defunct music group is one of the groundbreaking British rock acts of the last ten years, and their songs that pop up here fit the tone of the film perfectly. The overall soundtrack is tough to beat, with tracks by The Concretes, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, The Beach Boys, and some of the finest DJs in the world.

By the way, although Frankie Wilde is apparently fictional, there really is a Pete Tong. This man, who is interviewing Frankie at one point in the film, is an actual British DJ who lent his time and his name to this project.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A-

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen video presentation is pretty close to flawless. The film employs a very bright, vivid color scheme that is brilliantly recreated here. Images are extremely detailed, and sharpness is often incredible. The only real complaints are a couple instances of pixelation and the slightest bit of excusable grain.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio plays a huge part in the success of this film. With his central focus on a deaf DJ, the director employs many audio tricks, with various sounds fading in and out of the soundfield within seconds of a new sound being heard. This mix handles these nuances perfectly, taking the viewer along for the ride in Frankie's head. Different music cues travel across the soundstage, fading in and out, with the bass presence often fluctuating from deep to soft as well. The dialogue works well with the rest of the dynamic sound, and can always be understood, regardless of the thickness of the actors' accents.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Brown Bunny, Spun, Go, Kung Fu Hustle, Layer Cake, 24 Hour Party People
1 Documentaries
3 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The extras consist of the 41-minute documentary, Making of It's All Gone Pete Tong and a trio of featurettes. The longer piece takes a good look at what went into the making of the film, featuring cast and crew interviews, during which they discuss filming on Ibiza, the subject matter, and how the concept came about.

Frankie Wilde: The Rise is the first featurette, and at just over four minutes, includes footage of Frankie Wilde's interview with Pete Tong and discussions with other interviewees from the feature about the DJ's glory days.

Frankie Wilde: The Fall is nearly eight minutes of footage, including a look at a commercial for whiskey that Frankie appeared in and a talk with Rabbi Ben Katz about Frankie's deafness.

Frankie Wilde: The Redemption is seven minutes of content, including Ken Turner interviewing Frankie and his appearance on a Spanish cooking show.

Extras Grade: B-

 

Final Comments

It's not a classic like This Is Spinal Tap or 24-Hour Party People, but It's All Gone Pete Tong is a wonderful, bitingly funny exposé of a DJ who got way too deep into his own fame. His art became his demise, but this film proves that sometimes one special person can literally save another's life. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's DVD looks and sounds excellent, and there are some nice extras that look at the making of the film.

 


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