I went to see this last night, and left feeling a little disappointed. It's based on true events as main character Neil McCormick and his brother Ivan attend the same school as Bono, with new bands setting up all the time. Bono, of course, goes on to world domination with U2, whilst the McCormick brothers are left desperately trying to seek the big time, whilst at the same time eating cold beans from a tin as their finances and fortunes dwindle away. The spine of the film, however, is that an as yet undiscovered Bono approaches Neil and tells him he would like his brother to join U2. Neil rejects the offer out of hand, but fails to tell Ivan, believing that their band will become bigger and better than U2. The scriptwriters were industry legends Dick Clement and Ian LaFrenais of Porridge, The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedersehen Pet but I was nervous when I saw their names because for my money they are much more suited to character driven 30 minute TV comedy, and their occasional forays into movies have been very hit and miss. They even tried the music-tensions-within-a-band premise a decade earlier with Still Crazy, although that was a decent enough film. The problem is that Killing Bono doesn't quite know where to go. It's billed as a comedy yet it isn't anywhere near funny enough, and too many of the 'laughs' seem staged and deliberate. And there is too much of a dark undercurrent running throughout - I feel the movie would have been better had it not been billed as a comedy and the production team let the bitterness and unfulfilled jealousies of McCormick come out without trying to play it for laughs. Fair enough, it's a good idea that every time he tries to succeed with his band Bono has seemingly got there first (the first big gig he secures just happens to clash with Live Aid!), but the hesitant mood of the movie means we quickly dislike McCormick as our main character - and a film where the lead fails to engage with the audience is very dangerous indeed. Martin McCann does a sterling job as a timid Bono, but as others will no doubt say, the movie had a golden opportunity to fill its soundtrack with an extensive U2 back catalogue which would have helped it along much more. It's likable in places, and the much missed Pete Postlethwaite dazzles in his final role (all the more poignant as he physically looks heartbreakingly ill), but this is no Commitments, which, of course, Clement and LaFrenais also scripted.
Comedy / Drama
Comedy / Drama
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Two brothers attempt to become global rock stars but can only look on as old school friends U2 become the biggest band in the world.
February 27, 2021