Movie Scoop: Pete Tong rocks the house

Humans have five senses: sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste. Some people count a sixth paranormal sense, but it’s relied on less than the others which, when combined, form the basic framework through which we experience our lives. Most of us take our senses for granted, never contemplating how we would manage if they suddenly disappeared. If one day you wake up and it’s as though you haven’t opened your eyes, you probably never thought to see the different shades of green in a single blade of grass. You can’t hear the birds singing in the morning, though you never listened to them before.

This is the story of DJ Frankie Wilde as the told in It’s All Gone Pete Tong, the new movie from Fubar writer-director Michael Dowse. Like its predecessor, Pete Tong is the brainchild of Dowse, who proves more level-headed than his productions would suggest.

“There’s a proverb about writing scripts,” says Dowse. “In the first act you put a character in a tree, the second act you huck rocks at him and in the third act you get him out of the tree.”

Following this tried and true formula, Dowse puts Ibiza super-DJ Frankie Wilde (Paul Kaye) into a sticky situation. A product of every excess–too many drugs, too much sex, too much drinking and too much noise. Frankie ignores the signs of his declining hearing, until one day while hanging out with his two Austrian mates it becomes unavoidable. Frankie refuses to face the problem and he eventually loses his pushy, and at times crude, manager Max Haggar (Mike Wilmot) and his whore of a wife (Kate Magowan). He also, for good reason, loses his gig as a DJ.

All Frankie can do is lock himself in his villa and let his imaginary friend the coke badger shovel coke at him, squandering the last of his sanity on more drugs. At this stage, Frankie is in the tree, but this time it’s drugs not rocks being thrown at him.

“It’s the old script writing rule of do the worst thing possible to your main character and you’ll have 90 minutes worth of narrative or so,” says Dowse. “The darkness comes from trying to mine the best comedy out of it. For me, the best comedy comes out of the most awkward, horrible situations; you have to get there with the characters so I think the trick is to show the heart of the tragedy as well as the comedy.”

Whatever Dowse’s method may be, it works. In spite of being constantly funny, It’s All Gone Pete Tong is rather heart-warming. The audience understands how Frankie reached such a low state. His downfall, though sad, seems inevitable , which only makes it better when he gets back up. Despite all the lewdness and arrogance he does pull himself together. He learns to hear through his other senses, to listen by watching people’s lips, to feel the thump of the bass through touch.

It is at this point of the movie Dowse’s technique can really be appreciated. To say it’s difficult to make Ibiza look beautiful is ridiculous, but Dowse manages to make it look like more than pretty scenery. The style makes you believe you’re learning along with the deaf DJ.

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