Sunday, June 1, 2014

Review: Sunshine on Leith - the movie

Before I begin let's put a few facts on the table.

1. I think The Proclaimers are a fantastic band. I have many of their
albums and listen to them a lot. 2001s "Persevere" is a particular
favourite. If you've only heard them singing about walking a long way
then look further afield.

2. My parents are Scots. My brother and I were born there. I think it's
fair to say that we are all proud of our heritage.

3. I was very, very much looking forward to this film.

4. "Sunshine on Leith" is doing quite well here in cinemas.

5. If you're going to watch the film consider that what I'm about to
write may contain spoilers.

Where should I begin? The movie makes Edinburgh look fantastic. Too many
people think of Scotland as being dark, grey and dreary all the time.
While the producers may have had to wait a while for a sunny day they
certainly got some cracking weather to show off the city. As a visual
spectacle the film is a triumph. Watch it and you want to visit.

There's a cameo from Craig & Charlie Reid (The Proclaimers) at the start
which is funny. Check out some more recent footage of the band on
YouTube sometime - it looks to me like Craig (the twin who doesn't play
the guitar) moves more and more like Joe Cocker every day!

The opening scene inside the Army vehicle is very well done. While it
was predictable I thought it set the film up to be excellent. on.

The story: it's superficial, often depressing and what seem to be
significant parts are introduced and then not

The singing: if I was casting a movie where all the main characters have
to sing then I think the ability to put in a solid vocal performance
would be on my list of must-haves. They can all sing in tune...but
there's very little quality or depth in any of them. Let me clarify, I
certainly did not expect the cast to sound like The Proclaimers, just to
have good voices.

Reality: it's all rather airbrushed. We meet two ex-soldiers returning
from war as main characters. Not a swear word to be heard. No smoking.
Even the scenes in the bars (filmed in two Glasgow pubs) are sterile. I
didn't expect it to be like a scene from Taggart but it's a bit too
light and fluffy for me.

I was surprised to read that there is very, very little of Leith in the

The soundtrack: delivered without conviction. "Letter from America"
could've been a huge moment in the film but it was so lacking in emotion
that I nearly stopped watching.

To sum up then; if you want a very light, fluffy cinema experience with
some average singing then you should go. If you want to see how truly
beautiful parts of Edinburgh are then you should go. If you were
expecting a good story with awesome versions of some classic Proclaimers
tunes then you may be disappointed.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the translation from stage to screen
for this production hasn't really worked.

That's just my 2c of course. Feel free to disagree, politely.


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