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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The lost genius
THE treatment of Stuart Sutcliffe is good, very good, although the rest of the fledgling Beatles look terrible - particularly the George Harrison and Pete Best characters.
Overall, The Beatles are presented as a very loose set of relationships, John Lennon appears to hate everybody and while many biographies describe Lennon as a man with a twisted sense of humour,...
Published on 19 May 2002 by Beowulf "Wulfie" Mayfield

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars The Fractured Five
Before the Fab Four there was the Fractured Five.
There is a brilliant film to be made about The Beatles times in Hamburg. This is not it but it does tell something of the story of that time, particularly the triangle of John Lennon, Stu Sutcliff and Astrid. Sutcliff's love for art and Astrid outwieght that for rock N roll and ultimatly even best friend Lennon...
Published 15 months ago by Fidget Books


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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The lost genius, 19 May 2002
This review is from: Backbeat [VHS] (VHS Tape)
THE treatment of Stuart Sutcliffe is good, very good, although the rest of the fledgling Beatles look terrible - particularly the George Harrison and Pete Best characters.
Overall, The Beatles are presented as a very loose set of relationships, John Lennon appears to hate everybody and while many biographies describe Lennon as a man with a twisted sense of humour, the kind of antics described in the Hunter Davis and Philip Norman biographies are missing completely. George and Paul are little more than extras much of the time which, as a devotee of history, grated rather a lot with me.
However, the film is about the relationship between Stu Sutcliffe and the beautiful Astrid Kirscher and this is dealt with sensitively and tenderness. Throughout, they are presented as beautiful people, made for each other but tragically torn apart.
Opening with Sutcliffe and Lennon being set upon by a bunch of Liverpool heavies, the die is cast for young Stu within five minutes, setting up the tragedy of this brilliant but humble and hugely likable young painter who keeps telling Lennon how great the Beatles are destined to be and seems quite happy to step aside and watch them rise to fame, happy to have stepped off the bandwaggon. Who knows, if Sutcliffe had lived he may have risen to similar heights himself in the art world. Perhaps the Sgt Pepper or Revolver album covers might have gone his way if he had been around to do them. . .
Musically, the film rocks from start to finish with excellent arrangements of classic Beatle covers and a recreation of the recording of My Bonnie with Tony Sheridan which actually comes out sounding much livlier than the original.
Although the Beatle history freak in me longs to see a film about the band in Hamburg, this is not a historical documentary. It's a film based on the tragic story of a Liverpool painter who was struck down far too young and the beautiful woman he loved - and who loved him. As a tale of tender love set against the backdrop of the Beatles in Hamburg, it's a fine film with a rocking soundtrack.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wait a minute Mr Postman, 13 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Backbeat [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Before I saw this film I had no time for the Beatles, but it changed my feelings about them and their music for good. It's really the story of Stuart Sutcliffe, who formed part of the Beatles' original line-up, and his experiences in Hamburg in the early 1960's. In additional to playing a less and less significant role in the band over this period, Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff with a faultless Liverpool accent) matures as an experimental painter, strikes up a passionate relationship with Astrid Kirchner (Sheryl Lee - formerly Twin Peaks' Laura Palmer) and degenerates in mental health as he heads towards a brain haemorrhage. It's a sad story, but excellently acted and with an awesome, awesome soundtrack.
Ian Hart plays John Lennon (with a grouchy catchphrase, throughout the film, of 'It's all dick') - he's brilliantly cast, as the actor looks so much like the singer! The soundtrack is made up of early Beatles hits ('Rock and Roll Music', 'Twist and Shout', 'Twenty Flight Rock') all originally recorded before the band started writing their own material. The difference here is that the songs are revitalised by 'The Backbeat Band', a one-off combination of grunge / rock artists such as Greg Gulli (Afghan Whigs), Dave Grohl (Nirvana / Foo Fighters) and Mike Mills (REM) and the new versions are all fantastic. Get this video! Stuart Sutcliffe trivia: several of the artist's paintings were recently used as covers for Mansun's "Closed for Business" EPs.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Backbeat, 1 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Backbeat [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
I hadn't heard many reviews of this film before I bought it, and being a major Beatles fan I already knew the story and probably wouldnt have bought it if I didnt know that Astrid Kirchherr had been present on set and thought that Stephen Dorff was so spookily like Stuart Sutcliffe that it gave her chills. So I bought and watched Backbeat not really knowing what I was going to think, the end result was amazing, I love this film! And Ian Hart plays an amazing John Lennon, it's so easy to see why he was chosen for the part, and strange to think that he went on to play Professor Quirril in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone! The only critisism that I would have about Backbeat is Dorff's Liverpudlian accent, I kept hearing an American twang every so often which snapped you back to reality after being so engrossed in what is happening on screen that you can forget that it's just a film. And if that's the only critisism I can give then you can rest assured that this is a film worth watching.

All in all Dorff and Sheryl Lee (who plays Astrid Kirchherr) give a very emotional performance of the passionate but too short relationship of Kirchherr and Sutcliffe. Also featured is the passionate but too short relationship of Sutcliffe and Lennon, you have to remember that Lennon not only lost his best friend when he tragically died but he lost him the day that Stuart and Astrid met. All of the actors in this film play their parts perfectly and even though Chris O'Neill (George Harrison) has probably one of the smallest parts, he has Harrison's accent down to a T and you can feel the vulnerability that the 17 year old George probably felt as he travelled to Hamburg for the first time to play with the big boys (Harrison was the youngest member of The Beatles.)

I would recommend this film to any Beatles fan and hope that they love it as much as I do!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Hello, Ladies and Genitals. We're the band!", 28 Feb 2008
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Backbeat [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
This film evoked a nostalgia in me, which might seem bizarre considering I was never around during the heyday of the Beatles, let alone the initial years. In fact, I was born the year John Lennon was shot. But as a teen, I idolised John Lennon and read every biography I could get my hands on - so the Beatles are very much part of my teen years.

Having read many a biography about Lennon and the Beatles as a band, I had a fair old knowledge about this period in the bands life, but the gaps I had were all to do with Stuart Sutcliffe whom I knew little about, other than his love of art, and his relationship with Astrid.
The film is only 96 minutes long - so you can't expect a true historical account of the `Hamburg period', and this film is mainly concerned with the story of Sutcliffe. It's for those reasons that you more-or-less forgive the exclusion of McCartney and Harrison from the film - they are relegated, it seems, to extras, but here it doesn't matter. This is the largely untold story of the fifth Beatle.

Stephen Dorff does an admirable job as Stuart Sutcliffe, the likeness is uncanny. In fact, during the photo session with Astrid, the Stephen Dorff Sutcliffe looks as identical to the actual Sutcliffe in the real-life photos. Sometimes he struggles with the accent, but it doesn't detract much away from a good performance.

It's Ian Hart though who steals the show. His John Lennon often seems a like a caricature - his lines saturated with witty one liners, but this feels like the concentrated essence of Lennon. The energy he gives lifts the film, without it the feature would seem a bit flat. I've yet to see Ian Hart in a film where he falls anything less than fantastic.

In a nutshell: This is a good film and does a great job of portraying the Beatles before they gained international fame. It would have been nice to have seen McCartney performing the lead vocals (especially for the songs he used to lead on!), but the film successfully tells the story of the man who stepped out of the limelight to follow his love of art, and the love of his life. After watching Ian Hart's high-octane youthful Lennon, the final text epilogue stating that John Lennon was shot dead in 1980 seems ultra poignant. The impact is heightened and you realise that the film was maybe more about Lennon than Sutcliffe for many of the viewers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Great, 19 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Backbeat [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
What can you say about a really great film except that its great. It actually got me into Stu Sutcliffes Art, I Googled him and had a good look at his stuff (Abstract Expressionism) VERY INTERESTING.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Backbeat, 29 Nov 2011
This review is from: Backbeat [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
I am pleased with everything concerning this dispatch. It took the item 3 days from England to my reach my home in Sweden.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film about the pre-fame Beatles, 11 Jun 2008
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Backbeat [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
"Back Beat" is about the early trials and tribulations of John Lennon and Stuart Sutcliffe, art students and rock musicians from Liverpool. They were scrappy trouble-makers when they formed the Beatles with Paul, George, and Pete Best and went to play in the shabby strip clubs of Hamburg, hoping to make a name for themselves. There, Stuart met and fell in love with photographer Astrid Kirchherr. Although he was very close to John, Stuart chose to leave the group and stay with Astrid, just before the Beatles released their first record.

John is well-played by Ian Hart (Quirrell in "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone"). Being a native of Liverpool, Hart gets the accent right and conveys John's scruffy, irreverent attitude and love of music. American actor Stephen Dorff does a good job as the sensitive, doomed Stuart. None of the actors look much like their characters, but they do project a believable image of the group.

The songs (none of which are by Lennon-McCartney) were sung by members of established bands such as REM. The sleazy locations in Liverpool and Hamburg contribute to the rag-tag feeling of the movie. In spite of ample profanity and nudity, this is a movie that Beatles fans will enjoy, and the DVD has many interesting extras.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 22 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Backbeat [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
Really enjoyed this film. A good insight to the Beatles at that time and can recommend this to anyone who likes the group. Made me look at the group in a different way more so John. excellent
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5.0 out of 5 stars Twist and shout, 20 Jan 2014
By 
Mark Bracewell (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Backbeat [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
Worth buying for Ian Hart's portrayal of Lennon alone. It really captures the era, the late 50's/early 60's austerity, and the sheer vivacity of the band. Fantastic soundtrack, and the Paul MacCartney actor's resemblance is uncanny. Wonderful
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, 5 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Backbeat [DVD] [1994] (DVD)
Worth watching but the Liverpool accents are dreadful. Paul McCartney later in the film especially sounds more like Irish which becomes very distracting especially for me who hears scouse accents regularly.
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Backbeat [DVD] [1994]
Backbeat [DVD] [1994] by Iain Softley (DVD - 2004)
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