Good Vibrations

(Ireland, 2012, 102 mins, Blu-ray Disc)
CAST Richard Dormer, Jodie Whittaker, Michael Colgan, Karl Johnson, Liam Cunningham


Forget the Troubles and get your "Teenage Kicks" instead! In 1970s Belfast, gregarious impresario Terri Hooley (Richard Dormer) opens his Good Vibrations record shop on the city’s most violent street. Confirming his terrible business sense, he next buys a seedy venue and launches a record label after pogoing his way through his first sweaty punk show. Signing local strugglers like Rudi, Outcasts and The Undertones—who go on to pen a single so catchy that legendary tastemaker John Peel is inclined to play it twice in a row—Terry comes to understand that Northern Irish punk is a tough sell.

Recalling Michael Winterbottom’s irreverent 24-Hour Party People, Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s wildly entertaining biopic plays loose with the facts, but nails the spirit of the era. As Hooley asserts: when it came to punk, New York had the haircuts, London had the trousers but Belfast had the reason. The seamless incorporation of archival footage lends a clear understanding of the chaos that had become commonplace. Consequently, we appreciate the catharsis such desperate, immediate music offered Belfast’s embattled youth. Likewise, we commiserate with Hooley when he suggests, "Victory doesn’t always look the way other people imagine it."

"An impasssioned, funny and monumentally likeable myth-making comedy." Time Out