He gave us the heartbreaking ‘Once’, and the spirit-lifting ‘Begin Again’. Now filmmaker John Carney has gone back to his indie, Irish childhood roots to give us the 80s toe-tapper ‘Sing Street’.
Set in 1985 Dublin, Conor’s (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) parents are on the verge of a divorce and money is tight, so his parents decide to pull him from his current affluent school to send him to the free state school, Synge Street. Things are rougher, meaner and harder, including the Catholic priests running the school. But all that doesn’t matter once Raphina (Lucy Boynton) catches Conor’s eye. In order to impress her and involve her in his life, he puts together a band with a few misfits from school and casts Raphina as the star of the band’s videos. Influenced heavily by the pop musical education his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor) gives him, Conor’s quest to simply get the girl becomes so much more as his mind is opened up to the freedom music can bring along with the desire for something bigger and better out of life.
‘Once’ gave us a hit tear-inducing soundtrack, worldwide tour stars and an Academy Award. ‘Begin Again’ gave us more Adam Levine, a singing Keira Knightley (who knew?) and the Academy Award nominated car-screamer ‘Lost Stars’. Can ‘Sing Street’ make it a hat-trick? You bet your arse it can! This soundtrack is incredible. John Carney has assembled a group of compete unknowns based solely on their ability to play instruments, and it’s paid off. Not only are the cast of newcomers perfection with their natural innocence, but they’ve made some of the most catchy, toe-tapping, crank-to-11 tunes you’ve ever heard, and all with an 80s flair. The standout track is clearly ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’. It’s the centrepiece tune to the film, and if it doesn’t cause you to put it on repeat once you emerge from the cinema then I don’t know what will.
The costumes, hair, makeup and sets are just the time-warp you so easily fall in love with, compete with a killer soundtrack, charismatic cast and a coming-of-age story set to the sounds of Hall and Oates, The Cure and Duran Duran. You couldn’t ask for anything more. An instant classic - John Carney has done it again.