Weekender Benchmark Films

Considering the impact that the acid house/rave scene had on the world, both culturally and socially, it’s really quite odd how few feature films have been made about it. In fact, I can only recall three of any worth: It’s All Gone Pete Tong, starring Paul Kaye, the rather flaky Groove and Human Traffic that tells the story of a group of Cardiff boys out for the weekend.

As for yours truly, having put on more than my share of warehouse parties I was well immersed in the whole shooting match, saw it from the inside out and, as such, was glad to hear that a film has been made that at last deals with the subject hands on. I am even happier to declare that it hits the nail slap on.

Weekender, directed by Karl Golden, tells the story of two young lads, Matt (Henry Lloyd Hughes) and Dylan (Jack O’Connell), who, ensconced in Manchester, eke a living nicking cigarette machines from pubs. Bang into the emergent rave scene, they team up with a local pirate radio DJ, Captain Acid (Tom Meeten), and put on a series of illegal warehouse parties that eventually pull in a huge crowd and the consequent readies.

Sounds straight forward enough, but what exemplifies this film is the thoroughly authentic soundtrack (chosen by my old friend Terry Farley of Boy’s Own) the party scenes which truly evoke the spirit of the times and the plot. A picture that, for once, tells it exactly as it was, once the jolly pair of party-loving, happy-go-lucky E heads start to make money and, as in real life, the villains, led by John Anderson (brilliantly played by Ben Batt) move in, take over their parties, and the whole deal goes sour and the scene dies a death. 

The film is as much about the death of innocence and wide-eyed optimism at the hands of crude capitalism as it is about the acid house scene. Undeniably, it could well have been about the commercialisation of the Romantic poets.

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