Poking fun at East London hipsters is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, but Jason Attar and Danny Wimborne’s One Night In Powder manages to stand out from the crowd.
The story of manager, PR guru and promoter Kevin Powder and his last ditch attempt to find fame and fortune in the shady world of London nightlife, it’s an affectionate parody of hyper-trendy Dalston clubland. Born in Paris “under strange circumstances” and the son of Jim Morrison’s cleaner, Powder is a fantastic comedic character.
The film manages to be both a documentary about the diverse community of Dalston and an improvisational comedy about Powder’s blunders – as bizarre as that sounds, it actually works quite well. Improv is the most unreliable form of comedy, but Jason Attar’s sheer comedic chops make the film relentlessly hilarious and charming.
Thankfully, the writers have avoided targeting the low-hanging fruit of the trendy art student hipster. Kevin’s ideas for the night are absurd and clichéd (I wouldn’t be surprised if at least one Shoreditch nightclub has a doorman dressed as a king crab), but the tone isn’t mean-spirited – we’re rooting for him all the way through. The final scene where we see hundreds of clubbers enjoying the party is genuinely uplifting.
Kevin’s vision for the party is to create a truly universal night, one that appeals to every type of partygoer. It’s an ambitious dream, and the film sees him recruit a diverse mix of London misfits to make it happen. Whether it’s plummy-voiced hipster art students, pirate radio DJs or Kevin’s sidekick, the toothless hippie Gary Dolphin, the film’s real charm comes from the supporting cast. Kevin Powder may be a character, but the rest of the cast are all very real.
Whether or not they realise that Powder is just an actor is unclear, but they don’t seem to care. The concept of the party may be totally ridiculous, but the amount of sheer creative energy that they put into it is incredible.
The supporting cast are fantastic, but Kevin is the real star of the show. He’s both endearing and fundamentally dislikeable, a mix of qualities that make for such good comedic characters. Just look at the loathsome but loveable Alan Partridge for a perfect example.
Like Partridge, it’s endlessly quotable. The film is just a long list of laugh-out-loud moments, impressive considering the minimalist script. Kevin’s desperate voicemail to a missing puppeteer that ends with: “I know where you live. It’s not a threat, it’s just a fact” is a personal favourite.
And Kevin’s hiring of every Jack Nicholson impersonator in the country to appear at the party as a “surprise” for Gary must be one of the greatest uses of budget in cinema history. It’s the sort of film that you’ll unconsciously quote for years.
Simultaneously a fly-on-the-wall documentary, improv comedy and social experiment, it’s anarchic and fast and wonderful. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s the best British comedy I’ve seen in a while. It’s just a shame that the low budget clearly hasn’t allowed for much publicity. It’d be a crime if this film slipped under the radar, so tell your mates.
One Night in Powder is best described as Spinal Tap meets Nathan Barley, and it’s as incredible as that sounds. You need to see it now.
One Night in Powder is available to download from iTunes now