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SoulBoy 2010

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Shimmy Marcus directs this coming-of-age drama set against the backdrop of the Northern Soul dance scene of the 1970s. It's 1974, and for 17-year-old Joe McCain (Martin Compston) the dreary reality of life in Britain, dominated by power cuts and strikes, is claustrophobic. Desperate to find a place where he belongs, his life changes when he meets Jane (Felicity Jones), the girl of his dreams, who introduces him to the all-night dancing, pulsating world of Northern Soul music, and its mecca - The Wigan Casino.

Starring:
Alfie Allen, Felicity Jones
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 20 minutes
Starring Alfie Allen, Felicity Jones, Martin Compston, Jo Hartley, Nichola Burley
Director Shimmy Marcus
Genres Drama
Studio ELEVATION SALES
Rental release 3 January 2011
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In a field of one that's a rather back-handed compliment but it does sum up my feelings quite well.

Firstly, it's a fast and colourful, funny, evocative and atmospheric portrayal of the youthful Northern soul movement. This instantly makes it much better than watching footage of middle-aged ex-Wiganites dancing at revival events on YouTube. Top marks also to Martin Compston and the lovely Felicity Jones for getting those moves down so well.

Secondly, the music is very well chosen - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the soundtrack CD - and I would award more top marks for a pretty authentic recreation the fashions and feel of 1970s Britain.

Unfortunately the lack of a compelling story, coupled with some unfortunate and rather unlikely scenes (such as a 'dance-off' between the two love rivals) somewhat undermines the good work.

The best thing I can say is that, after 80 minutes, you will be smiling and in no doubt whatsoever that the film was made with nothing but genuine affection and good intentions. As a Northern soul fan, that's good enough for me.

N.B. The DVD contains some nice extras for fellow Northern soul fans
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this back in October ready for its release in January. Just watched it today and thought it was a good film. Fair do's, as other people have said the script and plot-line is nothing original, but at the same time I felt the director Shimmy has made a good job of giving you a feel for the time. For any youngster today would know nothing of cassette players, birmingham/oxford bags, spooner shoes, vests, record shops on corner streets etc. As for the music, it's tremendous! In my opinion you get a real feel for the time with the dance scenes (dance off excluded!). They've done a brilliant job of blending old documentary footage (most of which you can see on youtube) with the film footage and passing it off as the same, which I thought worked very well (compared to others that have tried the same).

As for the comment by the person who wanted a storyline more for his age group (now being in his 50s or whatever) I think you've got to appreciate that this film is not just for people like him that want to reminisce, but also for those who haven't got a clue about this genre and how much it meant to people at that time, like the teenagers of today, hence the 'coming of age' storyline.

At the end of the day, it opened my eyes to what it may have been like at the time (I was only 10 in 1974) and having loved the music since I first heard it, it makes me wish even more that I had been apart of it as it was happening. Enjoy the music, and try if you dare to stop your feet from tapping or from wanting to dance!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Overall, this is a very atmospheric film and in my opinion captures the time and the Northern Soul scene very well.
Hoever, the storyline is a little weak and disjointed, making the film episodic rather than a smooth narrative flow.

The performances by most of the leads are good, and the actors have a good go at the Stoke accent but understandably slip quite a bit towards Manchester/Liverpool (to be fair, I'm from Stoke and I'm often taken for a Scouser by southerners!).

On a technical side, the 5.1 soundtrack promised on the DVD was appalling (ie: not properly coded 5.1). The stereo version was much better, especially with a bit of ProLogic II upmixing.

A flawed film, yes, but still the best (only) "Northern Soul" film out there.

With a bigger budget, this could have been absolutely brilliant.
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Format: DVD
The plot is about a young man and his pursuit of a young lady. In his obsession he gets sidetracked when he discovers the underground soul music scene that consists of all night music sessions featuring obscure dance music and 100s of people, mostly working class youth in the north of England, enjoying themselves. He gets into the scene quickly with the record collecting, drug taking and learning to dance with the help coming from another girl. This sets up a bit of a love triangle.
The actors do a good job and the film moves along nicely altho at only 80 minutes it's a bit short.
In the past we've seen Northern Soul featured in Blue Juice with about 5 minutes worth. (1975). We've heard Northern Soul in the background in The All Together. (2006), 9 tunes. Finally we get a film about the scene and hear some music too. We see people dancing and enjoying themselves. The filmakers have tried to capture the period and the early days of Wigan Casino and for the most part have done a pretty good job. The clothes look authentic as do the bags and badges. Remember they are attempting to show life in the mid 70s which is 35 years ago give or take.
Some will pick holes in it with the odd errors, although the actual opening hours were between 2-8am, and not 2-6am as stated elsewhere, but quite frankly they do not detract from an overall vibrant film. It's nostalgia for those who went. For everyone else it's a part of English History with a "coming of age" storyline.
Extras on the dvd last about 20 minutes with 4 featurettes.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Soulboy is directed by Shimmy Marcus and written by Jeff Williams. It stars Martin Compston, Felicity Jones, Alfie Allen, Nichola Burley, Pat Shortt and Craig Parkinson. Music is by Len Arran and photography by Vladimir Trivic.

1974, Stoke-On-Trent, and Joe McCain (Compston) is tiring of his humdrum, repetitive life. Then one day, prompted by his work colleague Brendan (Shortt), Joe finds the gumption to seek a date with pretty hairdresser Jane Rogers (Burley). She opens up a new world to him, a burgeoning music scene in the North of England known as Northern Soul, the epicentre of which is the Casino Club in Wigan. But as Joe begins to find his identity in a blast of all night dancing and friendship, drugs, violence and matters of the heart begin to hover over him like dark clouds waiting to unload.

Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy.

It's best just to say it straight off, this is hardly a film to do Northern Soul justice. The movement itself is forming the backdrop to a very basic, run-of-the-mill, coming of age romantic tale. Which is sad, that the plot is so weak and poorly written, because the music, dancing and period awareness is joyous. But at least its heart is in the right place, as it's always charming and quite often funny before things get serious in the final third; even if a dance off sequence in said final third is unintentionally daft. From the 70s vibe of Stoke-On-Trent, with the terrace houses and the potteries buildings, to the recreation of Wigan's famous Casino Club (it sadly burnt down in 1981), Marcus and his team really have an eye for period milieu (impressive given Marcus is a born and bred Dubliner).
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