<strong>Rating: </strong>5/5Rate this
Time Out saysLively, light-hearted and long on period detail, this portrait of the pre-stardom Beatles focuses on the relationship of Lennon, his pal and 'fifth Beatle' Stuart Sutcliffe, and Astrid Kirchherr, the Hamburg photographer partly responsible for creating the band's mop-top image, with whom Sutcliffe fell in love. There's not much story - the lads' experience in Hamburg at the start of the '60s, their disagreements, their acquisition of a loyal club following, and Sutcliffe's appointment with death - so that the film depends for effect on atmosphere, performance and panache. Happily, it largely succeeds in each respect. Much of the credit must go to Hart, whose Lennon is convincingly acerbic, rebellious and petty. Dorff is adequately cool, good looking and Scousey as Sutcliffe; the other Beatles are played by fair look-alikes; and only Lee's vapid Astrid disappoints. The music is loud and raw, but nevertheless evokes the excitement it generated.