Groove

"OK"

Groove Review


Made for love, not money, by an upstart filmmaker who knows and adores his subject, "Groove" is an enthusiastic, insider snapshot of the sweaty, adrenaline-driven, hyper-party atmosphere of San Francisco's red-hot rave scene.

Capturing the boundlessly euphoric spirit of this kinetic musical subculture, this Sundance buzz bin picture is a biography of one rave -- from the guerilla location scouting in empty warehouses to the mood of Ecstasy-fueled pulse electronica that becomes more and more exhilarating with each changing of the guard on the DJs' turn tables.

Writer-director-editor Greg Harrison has a little trouble maintaining the needed verve because he invites the audience into the rave experience through a handful of rather uninvolving characters with elementary story arcs. David (Hamish Linklater) is a high-strung rave virgin, dragged to the party by his live-for-pleasure brother, Colin (Denny Kirkwood). Harmony (Mackenzie Firgens) is Colin's girlfriend, to whom he proposes before making a huge romantic mistake under the influence of Ecstasy. Layla (charismatic Lola Glaudini, "NYPD Blue") is a aimless-but-intelligent beauty who inexplicably nurses David the wet blanket through his paranoid and blissful first time dropping E. They're a shallow and sometimes grave bunch, and far less fun-loving than your average raver.

But what "Groove" lacks in personality it makes up for in breathless, cafeinated, fervid presentation.

Harrison breaks the story into chapters, cunningly introduced by the changing of DJs throughout the all-night fete. (Many of them are icons on the rave and club scene like John Digweed, DJ Polywog and WishFM, who served as the movie's music supervisor.) Each new act, brought on by each new spin-master, ups the energy level fivefold as the camera zooms in on the mixing board when the new DJ toggles from one turntable to another. If you're in a theater with a good sound system, you'll have to resist the urge to get up and dance your butt off.

Harrison's background is in film editing, and it shows in his brilliant cutting that takes cues from the beat of the music, without resorting to the tiresome 1,000-images-a-minute style of filmmakers who cut their teeth on MTV videos.

His film is uneven and sometimes even gimmicky, but it's visually and musically bewitching and does occasionally shine -- like when the nervous warm-up DJ who flubbed his first set unexpectedly gets a second chance to spin and sends the crowd into a frenzy, or when the party's electricity is cut off by the cops and the organizers bring it back to life with extension cords and a portable generator.

In the last few months, rave movies have become a sub-genre unto themselves. While "Groove" isn't as appropriately uninhibited or nearly as much fun as last month's Welsh import "Human Traffic," it actually does a better job of portraying the essence of these effervescent, fly-by-night parties than any film before it, including "Better Living Through Circuitry," an overly-loquacious documentary on the subject that came out two weeks ago. That film didn't have nearly the exhilarating vim that "Groove" has in spades.

There will undoubtedly be more rave movies, but even though Harrison takes his rather insignificant characters too seriously to capture the pure joy ravers espouse, "Groove" stands a chance of becoming the definitive cinematic document of what it's like to be on the inside of this underground party movement with a kick-ass beat.



Groove

Facts and Figures

Run time: 86 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 19th October 2000

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Fresh: 28 Rotten: 22

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Chris Ferreira as Bill, Elizabeth Sung as Maggie, as Ernie, as Harmony, as Cliff, Bradley K. Ross as Aaron, as Colin, Jeff Witzke as Neil, as Beth

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.