Backbeat

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Lively, 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.

Release details

Rated: 15
Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Iain Softley
Screenwriter: Iain Softley, Michael Thomas, Stephen Ward
Cast: Sheryl Lee
Stephen Dorff
Ian Hart
Gary Bakewell
Chris O'Neill
Scot Williams

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:0
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  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|2
1 person listening
loudMayorPerry

The film takes clever & interesting advantage of iconic Beatles imagery, especially from 'Hard Days Night', to establish a feeling of authenticity and works as foreshadowing of the fame to come in so few years. For example: in the opening scenes, Lennon & Sutcliffe run from thugs and a barroom brawl, dashing thru alleys & leaping over fences. This echoes the opening scenes of HDN of the Beatles running from fans, and works as a contrast between their fame & the hard street life of their immediately earlier years. For example: in HDN a longshot of Harrison, in a leaning posture, idlely toys with a show-girl's shoulder strap. In this film, there is a similar shot, but he toys with the shoulder of a topless dancer. There are others I'm sure.

loudMayorPerry

The film takes clever & interesting advantage of iconic Beatles imagery, especially from 'Hard Days Night', to establish a feeling of authenticity and works as foreshadowing of the fame to come in so few years. For example: in the opening scenes, Lennon & Sutcliffe run from thugs and a barroom brawl, dashing thru alleys & leaping over fences. This echoes the opening scenes of HDN of the Beatles running from fans, and works as a contrast between their fame & the hard street life of their immediately earlier years. For example: in HDN a longshot of Harrison, in a leaning posture, idlely toys with a show-girl's shoulder strap. In this film, there is a similar shot, but he toys with the shoulder of a topless dancer. There are others I'm sure.