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Killing Bono

3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

It’s a time-honoured scenario. Teenage boys with guitars rehearsing in the garage. Hand-printed flyers and first gigs in the school gym. Back in late 1970s Dublin, Neil McCormick dreamed of stadium stardom like all the rest, but, gallingly, it was the other band in the same year who actually made it big. Seriously big. As this adaptation of his subsequent memoir makes clear, McCormick, now a music critic for The Telegraph, needed no other encouragement to try and forge his own path to fame, but it’s tough being the next big thing when you once trod the same secondary-modern corridors as U2.

It’s a great story, that’s for sure, blending vaunting ambition, a mangled ego and the obvious comedy potential of the ’80s music scene’s lowest rungs. Whether it works in feature-film form is another matter, since seasoned scribes Dick Clement and Iain LaFrenais evidently had problems here. Ben Barnes is an innately likeable presence in the central role, yet given the character’s propensity to behave like an absolute arse, this can’t mask the difficulty Nick Hamm’s film has in keeping the audience on board for almost two hours. The ministrations of Stanley Townsend’s caricature Dublin gangster evidently look to curry favour for the errant protagonist, only to prove a tiresome subplot, while Martin McCann’s Bono-alike turns out a dismayingly decent chap. Still, the underlying pull of McCormick’s fervently mixed-up emotions, and indeed his ever-readiness with a smart quip, help stabilise the often ungainly storytelling, and, ultimately, there’s something cheering and very human about a hero’s journey  towards the recognition of his myriad flaws.

Release Details

  • Rated:15
  • Release date:Friday 1 April 2011
  • Duration:114 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Nick Hamm
  • Cast:
    • Ben Barnes
    • Robert Sheehan
    • Krysten Ritter
    • Pete Postlethwaite
    • Peter Peter
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