Film Review: You Instead

You Instead features an interesting enough idea, but is let down by the finished product. Director David Mackenzie needed a stronger script to work from.

American musician Adam is due to play with his band at Scotland’s T in the Park festival. Singer and musician Morello is also due to perform, but gets into an altercation with Adam. When the pair are handcuffed together, they have to survive each other’s company until a solution can be found…

Filmed entirely on location during the T in the Park festival, You Instead offers a certain buoyancy in its tone. Nevertheless, the film does not really capitalise on this. The main problem with David Mackenzie’s film is the script. There simply is not enough dialogue to produce a successful relationship between the two protagonists. The entire film takes place over the course of two days, therefore the relationship needed to be developed succinctly. Yet without sufficient banter or meaningful dialogue, this aspect falls flat. Whilst there are some nice moments, the film required sustained interaction between the pair. This does not commit the audience to become overly involved with the narrative.

The first third of You Instead is a bit boring, but the film picks up after this. By the end, the film is really rather endearing, if instantly forgettable. There are too many cutaways to other bands performing during the course of the movie. In one sense, this is understandable as the film was filmed over the course of an actual festival. Nonetheless, these scenes do not compensate for the lack of development the film desperately needed.

Music understandably plays an important part in the movie. The soundtrack is effective, but more so as an accompaniment to scenes rather than the clips of bands playing on stage. The two fictional bands that feature in the film also perform. It is these scenes that actually work quite well.

Performances in You Instead are adequate, although Luke Treadaway’s American accent is not great. There isn’t a need for the character to be American, so the unevenness of the accent is emphasised by this fact. Natalia Tena does a decent job as Morello. The supplementary characters are just that; there only to serve a purpose rather than showing any personality themselves. The pairing off of these characters is a trite move that detracts from the film’s dominant strand.

You Instead‘s intention may have been to be a cute music film, but unfortunately the script failed to produce anything memorable.