Franc Roddam’s Quadrophenia is one of the most beloved British films of all time, flawlessly bringing The Who’s seminal album to life on screen while also carving out its own identity as an impeccable coming of age drama. In the last 42 years, it has lost none of its power, and is often ranked among the greatest Brit flicks ever made. Now, the highly anticipated spiritual successor is with us, Ray Burdis’ To Be Someone – a slick, stylish and very funny crime caper that reunites several of the original film’s cast.
With Quadrophenia’s Leslie Ash, Toyah Willcox, Gary Shail, Trevor Laird, and Mark Wingett returning to the world of scooters and zoot suits, the film is certainly a nostalgic experience for fans of the original film while striving to define itself as Quadrophenia for a new generation.
With a style heavily influenced by the king of cinematic geezers Guy Ritchie, the film’s approach often borders on satire – at times, it could pass as a spoof of Ritchie’s films, especially with Scott Peden’s hilariously over-the-top performance as antagonist Mad Mike. But therein lies the film’s unusual charm. It’s messy and often overacted, but there is an element of tongue-in-cheek self-awareness and a clear fondness for the genre that makes it feel fresh and entertaining for fans of this kind of film. Audiences’ mileage will vary with some elements of the film however, such as Perry Benson’s character who is written as a loveable pervert (as if such a thing could exist), ultimately leaving a rather bad taste in the mouth in the #MeToo era.
On the whole, To Be Someone is an entertaining enough distraction if you come in with adjusted expectations. Anyone who is looking for Quadrophenia 2 will likely leave disappointed. The film certainly doesn’t come close to the visceral and raw energy that the iconic 1979 flick had, and definitely isn’t going to experience the same longevity. It’s unlikely anyone will be talking about To Be Someone in 42 years. But saying that, fans of the genre shouldn’t outright dismiss it – there’s a lot of fun to be had with the film, provided you can get on its wavelength and enjoy its nostalgic charm, spoof-like elements, and have a patience for a lot of geezer nicknames like Ginger Nick and Roger the Fix.
Taken as just a bit of fun that is certainly not going out of its way to win any awards, To Be Someone is a modern mod marvel with some surprisingly funny sequences, good music, great clothes, and questionable haircuts.
Kaleidoscope Entertainment presents To Be Someone in cinemas 9 July and Digital and DVD 9 August