You Had to be There
John (Elliot James Langridge) is a bit of a loner and not like other teenagers his own age. But after plenty of nudging by his parents he eventually agrees to go to the local youth club which is where he meets Matt (Josh Whitehouse) who is the only one on the dance floor as he shows of his moves to some soul music. Soon Matt and John are best friends with a shared passion for little known soul songs and with a joint dream of making it to the States. But as they both embrace the Northern Soul culture events threaten to ruin their friendship.
"Northern Soul" is quite simply one of those you had to be there movies, a bit like "24 Hour Party People" another movie about the music culture from a specific era. Now maybe for those who were there on the Northern Soul dance scene of the early 70s this will bring back a wave of nostalgia and do a good job of recreating the energy of the dance halls. But for anyone who wasn't "Northern Soul" fails to manifest what the appeal was as well as failing to manifest the base desires of the central characters. Basically it feels like this movie takes for granted that the audience would have experienced what it is on about first hand.
But whilst "Northern Soul" failed to draw me in to the storyline it is still a well made movie. I may not have experienced the sweaty dance floors of a 1970s dance hall but I have seen enough footage to be impressed by the technical recreation of the era. And whilst I never felt that yearning to escape my surroundings as a teenager there is certainly an air of depression about the town in which this is set. Basically "Northern Soul" is technically well made and at times is quite impressive.
What this all boils down to is that "Northern Soul" is certainly a well made movie which appears to capture the era and club scene of the early 70s quite nicely. But it is a movie which is for those who experienced the Northern Soul scene when it was happening and for those who didn't it struggles to draw them in to it and the storyline of two friends with aspirations to escape the town where they live.