“That’s a bold move. Let’s do it.”
A jukebox of 80s classics with its own original songs, Sing Street aims to be a crowd-pleaser, and please it does.
Theorising that forming a band is the best way to get the girl, Dublin teenagers Cosmo and Eamon (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo and Mark McKenna, amongst others) start cracking out videos in the early days of MTV. Replete with the most enigmatic iconography of the 80s, the band churn through a-Ha, The Cure and The Clash to flesh out their own sound.
A keen ear will notice the similarities in some of the band’s songs to hits by The Vapors, Duran Duran and the like, while a series of original tunes, co-written by Director John Carney (Once, Begin Again), are among the film’s most lively. Sing Street’s utter servility to the fashion of the decade, churning through eye-liner, colour-laden wear, impractical jewellery and mops that defy gravity will put a smile on the face of any nostalgic, or anyone for that matter tired of songs without power-chords.
The eclectically-skilled Walsh-Peelo and McKenna herald the crew, backed up by a number of talented cast members and a downright hilarious band manager/cameraman (Ben Carolan). Game of Thrones’ Aidan Gillen, alongside Jack Reynor as Cosmo’s elder brother Brendan, round out the more than affable supporting cast, while Lucy Boynton, the subject of Cosmo’s affections and numerous video clips, joins the panoply of cast members who are visibly having a really good time.
Kowtowing to its feel-good oeuvre, the collection of throwbacks and nostalgia-heavy dance sequences will play well to anyone enamoured with the era. A joyous picture in almost every sense, the numbers all but compensate for the presence of but little other resolute story in the film, with the sub-plot of the archetypal, belligerent school bully resolved, along with other strands, perfunctorily, if enjoyably. A much darker storyline is hinted at and addressed in a surprising way towards the end, one of many moments tapping into the contrarian hallmarks of rock, littered throughout the film for which it is all the more emphatic.
Sing Street makes the mistake, by no means an uncommon sin and most infamously evident in The Dark Knight Rises, of telling us exactly how it’s all going to wrap up about halfway through the film. The penultimate scenes proving no surprise, Sing Street’s concluding moments, if uplifting, are noticeably and jarringly over the top.
None of this really takes away from the sequin-heavy, absolutely scintillating quality of the film; its signature numbers and fervently joy-filled sequences proving no end of toe-tapping fun.
Sing Street is screening as part of the Sydney Film Festival on Sunday 19 June and Tuesday 21 June, for more information head to the Festival website