Preview – Northern Soul

Northern Soul

Northern Soul is an assured period drama that recreates the intensity and energy of the rare soul subculture that evolved into one of the most popular youth movements of the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

There is a story to the film but it is underdeveloped and a bit predictable, but don’t let that dissuade you from tuning in. Just jump in and follow director Elaine Constantine’s testosterone and amphetamine-driven journey of self-discovery to a frenetic soundtrack of brilliant ‘niter’ classics.

Set in 1974 in the fictional town of Burnsworth, John (Elliot James Langridge) plays the nerdy school misfit who finds purpose and a feeling of belonging after being taken under the wing of the too-cool-for-school, mop-topped, pill-popping DJ wannabe, Matt (John Whitehouse), who opens his eyes to a new world of music, allnighters and drugs.

Elaine Constantine’s direction is good away from the music, but impeccable with it. This heart-thumping picture is an exciting, edifying look into a subculture and the best DJ movie you’ll see all year, complete with a fantastic soundtrack.

As a film, it doesn’t dwell on sentimentality, nor is it a rose-tinted view of misspent youth. There is a real authenticity to the location shots and the recreated griminess and almost incessant drizzle of a recession hit North West of the Seventies, is something that natives of Lancashire during that period will remember not so much with fondness but with a knowing look.

And for those who experienced those heady nights at Wigan Casino, the Blackpool Mecca, The Ritz in Manchester and the many long-gone smaller venues, this transportive 99-minute ode to the Northern Soul scene will take you places you had long forgotten.

Northern Soul, Thursday 11.20pm on Film4