It's All Gone Pete Tong (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner25/05/2005

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Aided by a strong central performance from Paul Kaye, this is a surprisingly effective, moving drama with a black comic streak.

“It’s all gone Pete Tong” is slightly rubbish Cockney rhyming slang for ‘It’s all gone wrong’. History does not relate whether Mr Tong himself (a real-life DJ) is flattered to have both a phrase and a film named after him, but one must assume that he doesn’t mind all that much, as he appears in the movie as one of the talking heads.

The Story

Directed by Canadian director Michael Dowse (who made Fubar), It’s All Gone Pete Tong stars Paul Kaye as DJ Frankie Wilde, a superstar on the Ibiza club scene. It’s partly filmed in a mock-documentary style, so we get lots of real-life DJs (Tong, Carl Cox, etc) telling us how great Frankie Wilde is and hinting at the terrible thing that happened to him.

We also meet the other characters in his life, including his trampy wife Sonya (Kate Magowan) and his promoter Max (Mike Wilmot), who’s milking him for all he can get.

Initially, Wilde comes across as a thoroughly unpleasant character who’s only interested in snorting coke, downing whisky and shouting a lot.

However, everything changes when he discovers that he’s losing his hearing and his life literally comes crashing down around his ears. After withdrawing into a drug-fuelled nervous breakdown and battling with his personal demons in the form of The Coke Badger, Wilde emerges as a man in search of both redemption and companionship. Luckily he finds both when he meets sign language teacher Beatriz Batarda.

The Acting

Paul Kaye is superb as Wilde – he inhabits the character so completely that it’s actually quite disturbing. At any rate, he proves that he’s a much better actor than he’s usually given credit for – it’s not easy to regain the audience’s sympathy for such an unpleasant character, but Kaye manages it.

He’s aided enormously by Beatriz Batarda, who gives such a good performance as a deaf woman that you’d swear she was deaf herself (she isn’t). Kaye’s scenes with Batarda are both sweet and moving – they have surprising chemistry together. There’s also strong support from Mike Wilmot, who gets most of the best lines.

The Flaws

That said, the film isn’t entirely without flaws. For example, it often feels as if its satirical black comedy side and its serious, heartwarming drama side are jostling for position. Some of the humour works but the Coke Badger (played by, well, a man in a dodgy badger suit that was apparently bought off e-Bay) was probably a step too far.

In short, It’s All Gone Pete Tong works better as a drama than as a comedy but it’s worth seeing for Paul Kaye’s impressive, energetic performance.

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Content updated: 22/07/2018 23:12

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