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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The other side of the 1980s U2 phenomenon: sharp, witty and clever, 5 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Killing Bono [DVD] (DVD)
This 2011 comedy-with-a-hard-edge derives its screenplay from Neil McCormick's semi-autobiographical 2003 book `Killing Bono: I Was Bono's Doppelgänger'. Shot mainly in Belfast (which doubles for the film's 1980s Dublin and London locations) and directed by Nick Hamm, the result is clever, witty and entertaining.

The core of the story is that, contemporaneously with the embryonic U2 - who initially called themselves `The Hype' - another schoolboy band in Dublin led by the McCormack brothers, Neil (the older, played by Ben Barnes) and Ivan (the younger, talented, guitar player played by Robert Sheehan) was starting up. Neil believes his band to be better than Bono's outfit, so when Bono asks Neil to release his brother Ivan from his band because he wants him for U2, Neil declines - the first in a long line of poor decisions on Ivan's behalf which costs his younger brother an `A-list' musical career.

The story then develops as in parallel with U2's rapid international success, Neil and Ivan stumble from one hilarious episode to the next and suffer continuous frustration and disappointment in `making it big'. Invariably, Neil makes poor decisions even when opportunity comes knocking and always believes his band - `Shook Up' - can make it with no help from U2, who offer to get them a recording contract and a place as support band on their tour, which Neil declines without ever consulting his brother. The tribulations include becoming indebted to a psychopathic Irish mafia gang leader; playing sleazy strip joints to an apathetic audience; scheduling a breakthrough gig to coincide with The Pope's mass in Phoenix Park; and escape to London where they again miss the chance of a recording contract but rent a run-down loft apartment from the excellent and extremely camp Pete Postlethwaite (in his final film role) who opens up a whole new social life for the boys.

Success in a small way did come eventually to the McCormacks' band but they might have been better known, and sooner, without Neil's self-confessed blunders. The story is fast-paced and the script good with plenty of laugh-out-loud dialogue, especially when involving Peter Serafinowicz as the frequently lethal but narcissistic Irish Mafia king, making a great success of a difficult role. Martin McCann is particularly convincing as Bono: he even looks like him, and has his persona to a `T'.

`Killing Bono' is a good way to spend a couple of hours and almost everyone I know who has seen it is of the opinion that it deserves a wider audience. You don't need to be a U2 fan, or even a rock music fan, to enjoy it.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

The Guardian
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   

Location: UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 49