Northern England, the late ’70s: kids are hoovering up speed and dancing all night to obscure US soul 45s – thus a legend is born. It’s no surprise to see the Northern Soul scene as a movie but this debut feature’s inspiration stops there. It’s a familiar story of a shambling young lad (Martin Compston) who comes alive at the Wigan Casino – but can he choose between the heartless blonde vixen (Nicola Burley) whose boyfriend is the dancefloor alpha male and the cheery girl next door (Felicity Jones) who teaches him the steps? It’s all dismayingly formulaic and, although the period details are endearing, the film – like Compston’s footwork – is too effortful to sweep us along. Director Shimmy Marcus integrates priceless archive footage and a suitably groovy soundtrack but it’s not enough to make the drama compelling.
Cast and crew