Well…there is plenty to enjoy in this 2022 Netflix outing, the first from Game of Thrones creators DB Weiss and David Benioff in their new contract with the streaming giant.
Does the world need another teen coming of age movie? Possibly not, but this one does what it needs to do very well, and there is a real chemistry from its three leads: Adrian Greensmity (Hunter), Jaeden Martell (the drummer Kevin) and Isis Hainsworth as cello playing Emily. These three can all deliver on screen, but are working with an (at times) predictable script. There are some interesting touches; I wish that the mental health issues of Emily could have been explored more as she was an interesting character who added to the dynamics of the team. Kevin was almost a Harry Potter (in several respects, but without the magic) type of character, on the fringes, one key friend and then developing those teenage desires. The issues
of bullying and being an outsider are clearly defined, along with the sense of wanting to belong and parental neglect. However, none of these issues are allowed to develop, and (at times) it is as if the movie is going down a check list for what to place in a teen movie.
As to the music, the plot centres on the lads putting together a post death metal band for the local Battle of the Bands style contest. There are plenty of nods to Metal history, Metallica, Priest, Slipknot, Iron Maiden all get a check and the metal music provides a welcome backdrop. One of the best moments of the film is a rendition of Sabbaths War Pigs on the cello. There are also touches of humour that come with the text, most especially when Hunter tells Emily she can’t be in the band as to have a girl playing cello in a metal band would be “gay.” Emily points to the posters on the wall of the tight spandex pants and leathers, and it says it all!
So was this a ground-breaking movie that redefines teen cinema. No. But neither is it a School of Rock remake. If you love hard rock music there is much to enjoy, and it is a well-acted piece that provides an entertaining 90 minutes.
Review by Editor, Benny (the Ball).