SXSW FILM 2011
By Don Simpson | April 13, 2011
Writer: Thomas Leveritt
Starring: Luke Treadaway, Natalia Tena, Mathew Baynton, Alastair Mackenzie, Ruta Gedmintas
Tonight You’re Mine begins as Adam (Luke Treadaway) and Tyko (Mathew Baynton) — known collectively as the electro pop duo The Make — play a live radio acoustic set from the cramped backseat of a car that may as well been borrowed from Mr. Bean. Adam croons “I don’t want that, I want you instead” (from The Make’s titular track) as the tiny car cruises slowly down a dusty road somewhere within Scotland’s inconic T in the Park music festival. Their forward progress is halted by the Dirty Pinks. Morello (Natalia Tena) — lead singer of the Dirty Pinks — nicks Adam’s guitar; Adam steals a family heirloom from Morello; suddenly, their lives are quite literally interconnected.
Morello and Adam’s personalities and lifestyles are as polar opposite as their music. Adam, whose The Make is a famous boy-band from the States, dates a soulless female model — Lake (Ruta Gedmintas) — because, well, that is just what self-centered and arrogant Stateside rock stars are expected to do. Morello, on the other hand, is grounded by the fact that the Dirty Pinks are a hard-working, up-and-coming indie band. Morello’s Dirty Pinks are female punks with a shit ton of attitude and a buzzing amount of indie cred; but some of that said cred is diminished once we learn that Morello is dating a horribly bland banker named Mark (Alastair Mackenzie).
Opposites attract and Morello and Adam therefore become inseparable (at least without the proper key). When it comes time for the Dirty Pinks to take the stage, Adam has no choice but to join them. Eventually, Adam and Tyko hijack the Dirty Pinks’ performance and force the riotous grrrls into a rousing-ly bipolar rendition of “Tainted Love.”
Embedding his characters in the effervescent energy of one of the world’s largest music festivals, Young Adam director David Mackenzie’s Tonight You’re Mine focuses on codependency and partnership while stressing the importance of physical proximity and connectedness in relationships to metaphoric levels. A shared unabashed love of music may bring Adam and Morello together, but will love tear them apart again?
Shot on location at Balado Park (located near Kinross, Scotland) during the 2010 T in the Park music festival (named after its main sponsor, Tennents), Mackenzie’s guerrilla-style production flawlessly captures the sense of lunacy and ecstasy of his characters’ surroundings. Tonight You’re Mine is just as much about capturing the E’s and Whizz fueled atmosphere as it is about hobbling together a somewhat realistic rom-com flick amongst the mud, music and mayhem. The narrative is a bit flimsy but if you take into consideration the much abbreviated shooting schedule, Tonight You’re Mine is at the very least an impressive technical feat. Thomas Leveritt is credited as screenwriter, but the naturalistic performances lend a certain air of spontaneity and improvisation.
I have yet to attend the T in the Park festival but I have attended the Reading Music festival, and — judging from that one life-changing experience — Tonight You’re Mine certainly gets the British festival vibe right. (Tonight You’re Mine also does well to illustrate the use of Irn Bru as a hangover cure by the Scottish; though, I might add that the evidence from my personal experiments has been inconclusive.) Tonight You’re Mine boasts a fantastic array of musical styles on its soundtrack; in addition to tunes by the fictional bands The Make and Dirty Pinks, Tonight You’re Mine also features appearances by Biffy Clyro, Paolo Nutini and Jo Mango.